Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff

INU - Reportedly, for the past two years, Iran’s Minister of Education has been using a list of "disorders" that disqualifies applicants from obtaining a teaching position.

A new list issued by The Ministry is said to exclude the greater part of the population by including cancer survivors, or those who smoke. It is believed that the new list will also include women who are "infertile, have too much facial hair, cyst on ovaries, womanly disorder, breast, or cervix cancer.”

The Ministry says it will not accept educators with "heavy accents.” Iran suppresses linguistic diversity, and does not give equal access to education to non-Persian students, as approximately 50 percent of grade one students in Iran must learn literacy in a language that is not their mother tongue. Many speak Farsi with Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic or other accents.

Iran denies the existence of homosexuals, in fact, former President Ahmadinejad created an international uproar when he said at Columbia University that Iran had no gays. The new list mentions “hermaphrodism” (intersex) as a disqualifying “illness.”

The Ministry of Education will also exclude people who are not tall enough, as well as people with a visible limp. Poor eyesight, bladder surgery, blood pressure issues, thyroid problems, spine issues, digestive system issues are also among conditions that are included on the list, as are people suffering from PTSD, speech impediments, epilepsy, depression, bipolar or other psychological disorders. Graduates who have had a stroke or have multiple sclerosis, prostate, or other issues are to be excluded from the Ministry.

Social media backlash last week caused the ministry promise to modify the list.

Teaching is viewed as a “gender appropriate” career in Iran. Still, feminists voices are suppressed.

Amnesty International reported that feminists are treated as "enemies of the state" and are threatened with imprisonment on national security-related charges.

Iran’s supreme leader called gender equality a Zionist plot.

In her article for Kurdistan24, Ava Homa writes, “The religious dictatorship in Iran relies heavily on patriarchy to survive and not only because dictators overall are terrified by any form of solidarity and depend on division to survive. When men are watchdogs for women, the government needs to control only half of the society and the other half is an (unwitting) agent reproducing suppression. After all, empowered women are not easily silenced.”

It has been suggested that Iran’s government is concerned that the success of women’s movement will inspire other social justice movements, and it must be harshly punished.

The discriminatory laws in Iran can be traced back to the 1936 civil code, but by the 1970s, women had gained some freedom of education and occupation. These freedoms were taken away after the revolution Iran in 1979. After the revolution, the Islamic Republic forced women to wear the hijab, and in terms of marriage, divorce, and child custody, suffered many injustices. A woman is legally unable to work or leave the country without their husband’s permission, and a woman cannot marry without her father or a male guardian’s authorization. There is little protection for women against sexual harassment, or domestic and external violence. Still common in the country, are early and forced marriages, as well as marital rape.

The situation for Iranian women seems bleak, but hope lies with counter cultural movements that have begun in the country, from Kurdistan to Tehran.

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