Women's Rights

The purpose of this section is to examine the problems related to women's rights in the current Islamic system of Iran and to follow the suggestions and solutions to solve the problem in the form of a future democratic government based on universally accepted standards of women's rights.

The rights of Iranian women have changed greatly over the course of various political and historical periods. These rights include the right to marry, the right to divorce, the right to education, the right to cover and veil, and the right to health (such as reproductive rights, family planning and abortion), the right to vote and other rights. Examining the status of Iran's indicators in the 2020 report shows that Iran ranks 147th in the overall index of women's economic participation and 148th in the following indicators, such as participation in the labour market, 115th in managerial positions and 120th in specialized jobs among countries with gaps. It has the highest gender in economics. An examination of other economic indicators in this section shows that Iran ranks 149th in terms of women's income compared to men's income, according to the report, women earn about one-fifth of men's income.

The first women's revolution in the Constitutional Revolution took place in 1906, in the form of participation in coercive movements or in the form of activities of generally secret organizations. However, these movements were not specifically in the realization of women's rights, and after the constitutional boycott, many women's rights remained unaffected and women were deprived of their right to vote alongside criminals. Only a few of these pro-constitutional women advocated for women's rights, but the first women
to join the Iranian women's rights movement were either constitutionalists and activists of the national movement of the 1901 or nationalist intellectual families after the constitutional fever cooled. The illiterate returned to their former inner selves returned and only educated women and intellectuals followed the women's rights movement. Iran's relative freedom of expression and post-war political space and international changes in women's rights (women's suffrage movements in the United States and the United Kingdom, the communist victory in the Soviet Union, and Marx and Lenin's views on women, women's movements in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries) It can be considered one of the factors in the activities of women's rights in the following years. The women's associations that were established during these years were generally independent and engaged in activities such as the construction of girls' schools or women's magazines. At that time, until the preservation of their girl’s schools, they were opposed by many traditionalists, and for this reason, the establishment of a girls' school was a revolutionary act. After this period, independent women's organizations were eliminated and government-affiliated organizations or political parties were formed, such as the Women's Association, which was a very moderate and charitable association under Reza Shah, the Iranian Women's Organization under Mohammad Reza Shah, and the Iranian Women's Organization in Tudeh Party. The awakening of the mother of 1941, secular organizations such as the Bahamad Azadegan Association called for more rights, including the "discovery of the hijab and the right to divorce for Iranian women. The years 1941 to 1952 can be considered the years of the limited and controlled revival of the women's movement, which formed more independent but scattered organizations such as the Women's Party and the Women's Association (with today's Zan newspaper). Unlike in 1921, these organizations were not very convergent. A brief reference is made to the coordination of the activities of the Woman's Party and the Women's Association in 1943, and in 1952, a statement was issued by the "Coalition of Women's Organizations" calling for political and economic rights. This limited revival was abolished during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, and all women's legal activities came under the control of the government. It was centralized in 1951 and eventually came under the auspices of the Iranian Women's Organization.

After the 1978 Iranian Revolution, the situation of women changed, and some of the rights that women had acquired during the Shah's reign were revoked, such as the Family Law and the Right to Abortion, and the right to wear the hijab. In March 1978, the law on compulsory hijab was officially announced. Various groups of women protested against the mandatory wearing of the hijab for several days during the demonstrations of March 8, 1979. The rally was not to gain more rights but to protect existing rights. The protests were opposed by the government, and even the left and right political groups ignored them and considered them unnecessary. In the following decades, the Iranian women's movement took on a more regular form. The active campaigns of this period include the formation of women's consensus, the One Million Signatures Campaign, and the stone Law Campaign.


Violations of women's rights can be divided into two general categories:
• What is applied by the Islamic government as sharia law or as a totalitarian and patriarchal government that is not necessarily rooted in sharia but is the result of patriarchal and totalitarian thinking of regime leaders, such as restricting women's education in some fields.
• What is due to patriarchal culture and not necessarily related to the government. This thinking is generally practised by men, but some women have internalized this patriarchal culture. Therefore, both men and women need to change culturally.

This separation is to find the right solution based on the root of the problem. Of course, in many cases, both root causes are involved and interact. The solution of the first and second parts can be largely solved by changing the system and establishing a secular democratic system in the short term. What is needed is a long-term solution to the discrimination against women that results from patriarchal culture. Our first priority is the first part, which is to investigate the violation of women's rights by the Islamic political system and to provide a solution in the form of a future democratic political system. That is part of the demands that can be achieved by changing the political system to a democratic system in the short term. However, the programs and approaches needed to solve the problem, in the long run, will be presented as the next priority.

The major problems currently facing women's rights discrimination can be summarized as follows:

Discrimination in the field of political participation:

In the field of politics, Iran is among the countries in the world with the highest gender gap. The share of women in parliament at 5.9 per cent and 144 per cent, and in ministerial positions at 6.5 per cent and 132, which indicates a low share of women, indicates a deep gender gap in politics. Different countries around the world have different strategies for reducing gender gaps in politics, such as allocating gender quotas
in parliament (such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan) or allocating gender quotas to the list of candidates by parties (such as Turkey), but these methods are still used in our country. It has not been accepted. The lack of proper political participation of women is mainly due to the political and ideological structure of the ruling system. Similarly, patriarchal culture, inherited from political activism, is another institutional factor that challenges women's political participation (which is even more so in democracies, but certainly more in the Islamic system). On the other hand, women's low level of interest in women's professional and political activities is another small factor in women's participation. In order not to discriminate in this regard, the legal equality of opportunities for political participation of men and women (for example, the right to run in all political categories, the administration of the country, the right to judge in court) must be enforced. As women activists play a greater role in social movements and the movement for democracy and political change, women's power will increase and their status and dignity will increase in reality and in society.

Inequality of opportunity and discrimination in economic affairs and employment:

In terms of economic participation, Iran ranks 147th in the world in terms of the gender gap, which is due to the low presence of women in the labour market (17.9%) and gender inequality in income (women's income during the year is one-fifth of men). In order to oppose and prevent the ignition of women, especially educated women, it has reduced the employment of this group and created a big gap between the graduation rate of women from educational institutions and the employment rate (statistics should be provided). People, including women, have a negative effect. Among the special problems are the lack of employment for women self supervisor or heads of households and their social support.

Lack of equal participation and opportunity in social affairs:

Gender segregation and gender quotas in higher education;
Lack of strong civil society institutions to support and empower women;
Restrictions on sports activities;

Discrimination in family law, marriage and divorce:

It is generally governed by sharia law, including Islamic law's involvement in women's rights in the family and marriage, child marriage and low legal age for women's marriage, inequality in divorce, discrimination in child custody, the need for a husband's permission to travel, for exit The country does not have the right to travel alone, does require the husband's permission to work and study, does not have the right to marry without the permission of the father or grandfather, does not have the right to equal inheritance, does not have the right to abortion, does not have the right to freely choose a spouse and cohabitation. The unfairness of men and women in the financial discussion of marriage or divorce (dowry, milk price, ...)

Insecurity, violence and sexual harassment:

Violence against women in the private areas (at home) in public (at work, in social and in educational institutions). Women's status, social status, level of education, marriage or celibacy, and most importantly economic needs, affect the level of violence and its form, whether in the private or public areas. The regime has sought to create a public space for women, insecure, with many limitations and challenges, and to impose the duality of “the woman of the house and the man outside" Anti-feminist laws and the lack of will of government officials and capitalists, the lack of a legal system that protects women's rights in private and public areas against violence. Iran is one of 57 countries that do not have any specific laws or regulations to combat violence in the workplace.

Compulsory hijab:

The imposition of hijab and the lack of freedom of women's clothing is the most obvious violation of women's rights and freedoms in Iran. Compulsory hijab for ideological and political reasons is one of the most important values imposed by the regime, which has been challenged more and more by Iranian women and girls.

Lack of necessary and humane laws to protect and organize sex workers

Sexist belief on cultural and educational affairs:

Government cultural programs, such as radio and television broadcasting programs, films, books, etc., are based on a sexist and anti-woman belief. Separation of boys and girls in educational settings is one of the measures taken from the perspective of sexist.


Gender stereotypes about the care and protection of women by men (honor):
The issue of honor killings or acid attacks. Apart from the cultural aspect, we see that in places where the laws are more influential, honor killings have also decreased. It is a legal vacuum in the law itself One of the social consequences of distinguishing people on the basis of religion and how religiosity is practised is the formation of overt and covert minorities who live in a single land like separate pieces. In an early typology, Iran's religious minorities can be divided into three main groups.

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updated in May 2020

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