Women and Gender Issues in Iran
Women’s rights is the issue that ranks high on the agenda of civil rights movements, in different societies and countries across the world. Various organizations engage in activities aimed at attaining gender equality and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. This is a challenging and multifaceted task considering that women continue to be discriminated, in a number of ways, in both developed and developing countries. A record of fighting for women’s rights and gender equality has examples of important victories, which inspire and encourage the present-day activists of fighting for women’s rights. Access to college and university education and suffrage are some of the compelling examples. The position of women and gender relations issues in Iran display some of the worst forms of women’s rights violation, which are sustained by the complex impact of religious ideologies, socio-historical conditions, and cultural traditions.
Women’s rights in Iran are seriously affected and restricted within a more general context and practice of violating human rights. In developed countries, women fight for equal pay with men and other rights in the employment sphere and at the workplace, as well as for the adequate recognition of their roles in the family and society. However, in some countries, for example, in the Middle East region, the abuse of women’s rights assumes the appalling forms, which are incompatible with basic norms of the civilized society. The violation of women’s and human rights in some of them constitutes a threat not only to the normal conditions of women’s living. The rights’ violation and abuse take place in different spheres of human life governed by religious ideology, law, family traditions, as well as economic, social and political activities. Such a wide social and cultural context means that women’s rights violation concerns marriage and divorce law, rights to acquire education, clothing and Hijab, health and reproductive issues, and the right to vote.
Such severe restrictions limit considerably the life of women in Iran and prescribe them to adhere to the codes of behavior, which are defined by the Sharia laws. They can even endanger women’s lives, as the laws of Sharia refute the evidence and court procedures that are taken into consideration by secular courts in different countries of the world. Women in Iran, similarly to Kurds and Baha’is, represent a minority group, which are continuously confronted with critical problems (Cameron and Danesh 5). Civil and penal codes, as well as legal processes, are designed to put women at a disadvantage to men, which is done in a deliberate manner. Some of the laws and norms applied to women are the harshest of all those currently known to the civilized world. Women suffer both systemic discrimination and appalling violations of human rights. There were cases of women who have been exposed to violence or sentenced to death by stoning (Cameron and Danesh 5). The courts in Iran sanction the execution of women, with public hanging sometimes exercised as an alternative to stoning. …