Women in Iran face even more hardship now that there is legislation in place promoting large families. The legislation was introduced in 2011 and it also placed restrictions on family planning options.
Iranian women are forced to be veiled and they are not protected by law against domestic violence. If a husband does not want his wife to go to work, he has the right to enforce this regardless of whether his wife disagrees.
In matters such as inheritances, men have the right to double what a woman inherits. Women in Iran cannot watch sports in a stadium if men are present.
All of these things are enforced by law too. A large budget is allocated to ensuring that girls are properly veiled in school. The Guidance Patrol is a force that arrests women and girls for the silliest of reasons.
The situation for women in Iran deteriorated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Gender-equality laws that were previously approved under the shah were overturned. The shah in 1962 wanted to restrict polygamy, and it gave women the right to vote four years later. In 1967, it worked towards giving women more rights within the family including the right to request divorce.
Now women in Iran are being forced back into a subservient role where the husband is the head of the family and can control his spouse’s career.
After the 1979 revolution, education became Islamised and schools were segregated by sex. Females were discouraged from going to school and at one stage only five percent had access to higher education. More than three-quarters of women in a job were illiterate. Any females that had the chance of studying at a university were scrutinised by the “Sister of Zeynab” that would get them expelled at the first opportunity.
During the Iran-Iraq war, women’s participation in the labour force was less than 10 percent. Many women were forced to serve in the military where they were killed. Those who lost a husband or son in the war were not given any financial assistance from the regime.
HRW (Human Rights Watch) released a report last week urging Iran to make serious social and legal reforms regarding the position of women. The report said that this was essential to get the economy back on track because women make up less than 20 percent of the workforce.