Feminism in Iran
• Iranian society is a shifting one with many uncertain and paradoxical features.
• The dramatic growth of the educational and professional capacities of Iranian women had become a social issue in a country.
• Iranian human rights NGOs, including the Organization for Defending the Victims of Violence (ODVV), have argued that there is an inevitable link between the rights of women and children on one hand and such concepts as peace and security on the other.
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist:
• Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said supporting feminist movements in the Islamic world would better promote democracy than military force.
• Instead of bringing democracy with cluster bombs, we should support women fighting for democracy.
• She said the feminist movement has been successful in changing some custody laws in Iran, but that women need more victories.
• After the fall of the Shah Empire in the year 1979, Iranian women are facing too many restrictions imposed on them in accordance with the Sharia Law. Women in Iran are always regarded as a second-citizen
• Ebadi is one of the leading human rights defender in Iran. She works for the emancipation of women and offers to fight legally for the victims of discrimination and unfair justice.
Revolution in Iran (1979)
• Between 1979 and 1986 Iran underwent dramatic political and social revolutions.
• Despite economical growth, there was much opposition against the Mohammad Reza Shah, and how he used the secret police, the Savak, to control the country.
• Strong religious opposition against the Shah, and the country came close to a situation of civil war.
• The opposition was lead by Ayatollah Khomeini, who lived in exile in Iraq and later in France.
• His message was distributed through music cassettes, which were smuggled into Iran in small numbers, and then duplicated, and spread all around the country. This was the beginning of Iranian revolution.
• Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran on February 1. Ayatollah Khomeini became supreme spiritual leader of Iran.
Women in Iranian Revolution
• Revolutions have always had an effect on women and their role in society.
• Some revolutions gave women more opportunities while others restricted them to domestic servants.
• The Iranian revolutions are prime examples of both ends of the spectrum.
• Iran, however, took women the opposite way in their democratic revolution of 1979. Within a few years Iran went from being a Western influenced country to one ruled by strict Islamic rules and codes.
• Cruelty towards women was justified in the name of the Quran.
• The Quran has a few things to say about women.
• “Treat them with kindness; for even if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike a thing which God has meant for your abundant good.”
• However, the Quran also says
• “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other.”
• Only 6% of women are employed in Iran and many public facilities are segregated. Revolutions never happen without an impact on women.