The plight of the Iranian women under the theocracy

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In post-revolutionary Iran, women have experienced major setbacks despite their major role in the 1979 revolution which was led by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The late supreme leader sought to maintain a strictly controlled society using religious-populist leadership accompanied by repression and discrimination, in particular, against women.

Under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian women achieved major success for their rights. In 1963, they gained the right to vote and divorce, they were able to serve as representatives in the parliament, became judges and served high positions in the government.

During the event of the Islamic Revolution which succeeded in deposing the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in 1979, millions of women participated en masse in hopes of achieving more freedom.

However, the revolution resulted in major setbacks in gender equality. The Shiite radical regime revoked the legal improvements that were instituted under the shah and adopted a long list of discriminatory laws and practices against women. Among these laws is imposing veil or hijab on late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s order.

The discriminatory laws under the radical Shiite regime also give men the absolute right to divorce their wives and even get children’s custody. They also give men the freedom to be engaged in polygamy and have more than one wife. Conversely, women can face heavy punishment if they are charged with premarital sex. Also, fathers who killed their children can face a few years in prison, while mothers of similar charges are not exempted from capital punishment because they are not considered official guardians as the fathers. Additionally, while men’s Iranian nationality gets automatically granted to their children, women now have to apply and the non-Iranian father has to pass security checks.

Similarly, girls in Iran are victimised through early marriages which are legal under this regime. This law allows girls as young as thirteen to marry while permits younger children of both sexes to marry with their parent’s consent.

On social life such as cultural activities, the regime imposes limitations on women’s presence there. For example, women are banned from performing as solo singers for the general public. The regime has failed to ratify the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The regime Islamic also impose hijab on women and made it mandatory for them; those who break the law face punitive measures, including arrest. The compulsory Islamic veil triggered women national movements in Iran. Iranian women activists have been protesting against this law since 2017. They have also been protesting against the so-called honour killings since 2020 and played a key role in the mass anti-government uprisings including those that erupted in November 2019.

In practice, girls as young as nine can marry if a judge finds that they are mature. According to official figures, in summer 2020 alone, 9,061 cases of child marriage were registered in the country. Of that figure, three were the marriage of boys under the age of fifteen with the remaining 9,058 cases belonging to girls ranging from ten to fourteen years of age.

In terms of political life, women who are discriminated against are less than equal compared to men. They are not allowed become president, nor to be appointed as judges who have the authority to issue final verdicts.

On the situation of human rights in Iran, the UN on March 8, 2021, accused the Iranian of continuing to treat women and girls as second-class citizens.

There is no indication that the Iranian clerical regime has the intention to eliminate discrimination against women or protect their rights. Similarly, it appears that this regime which is inherently misogynistic is not willing to empower women and promote their participation in political, social and economic life simply because it is founded on gender discrimination and male domination over women. The regime suppresses women and discriminates against them under the banner of Islam.

Nonetheless, Despite Iran scores near the bottom of both the world and the Middle East in terms of women’s equality and the women in this country live in hardship and discrimination under the country’s laws, the Iranian women managed to make a significant shift in gender dynamics, empowering themselves in education, employment, and family law, while raising their self-esteem. Many well-known Iranian women have emerged as icons such as Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Narges Mohammadi. However, the Iranian regime has criminalised and persecuted most of them for involving in human rights activism.

Source » trackpersia

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