Women in Iran

A further piece in recognition of International Women’s Day to follow on from my previous post about Afghanistan. This article from the Open Democracy site by Nasrin Alavi gives a fascinating insight into the challenges faced by women in modern Iran.

On one hand, it is clear women are participating in Iranian society in very significant ways:

the nationwide literacy rate for girls aged between 15 and 24 has risen to 97%; while female students in state universities outnumber male ones. Women have transformed Iran since the revolution. A third of all doctors, 60% of civil servants and 80% of all teachers in Iran are women.

At the same time, some of the barriers to freedom and power are still very strong and very harsh:

On Sunday 4 March, around thirty-three Iranian women – as far removed from (President) Ahmadinejad as you can get – were arrested in Tehran. These women had gathered outside Tehran’s revolutionary court in solidarity with five of their friends, charged with organising a rally in June 2005 against discriminatory laws against women. Only two days earlier, they had published an open letter asserting their rights to the freedom of peaceful assembly that are afforded them by the Islamic Republic’s constitutional laws.

Interestingly, Iran has one of the highest proportions of bloggers of any country in the world. This may be a result of high literacy, combined with constraints on free speech elsewhere – or maybe it’s something else;I certainly don’t profess to be an expert. In any case, Nasrin Alavi has written a book on this, which I’m sure provides some insights.

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4 Comments

  1. Yes,and how odd it is to read about the problems of China to in illiteracy,with large numbers not knowing the national language let alone their folk language well.So in fact,Iran looks pretty good on that as a comparison.Strange how the leader of Iran,who I am convinced is a very intelligent man,although like Iran itself doesnt stand tall in World recognition,still a small man is a welcome sight for many in the world,as war and pestilence,drought and disaster arent to kind to the tall timbers either.I hope he realises that in countries like Australia if you are anti nuke, one would be hoping the President of Iran,who is a very hard man to influence,will travel very cautiously,re nukes,because of the Earthquake reality,rather than be pressured by the U.S.A. With that problem always a potential in Iran,one hopes and thats all.Women and their rights I do believe are similar,I guess to be open to Western countries in a learning sense,may in fact be a,sort of poison, in long held views of faith and what guidance that should have on peoples lives.Once again, the man of not much physical height ,may simply not want the poison and,well ,perhaps,that is where he is a slow learner,rather than a intelligent assessor.Women make fools of themselves regularly in this country,and it doesnt have to be about equality or sexuality,but simply doing some unusually dumb things.As a male spectator it now may be the only be the real sense of acceptance of womens rights and mens cleverness to laugh at these behaviours,without the she knowing.Respect is still possible.And maybe Muslim men need the right to laugh at women more than dominate, as worthy power ,in, and of.. the individual.A fair and respectful laugh is a great accomplishment.

  2. I guess you can’t educate your women and still expect them to behave like second class citizens. More power to those brave enough to challenge the status quo.

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  4. It’s a pity a bit more interest isn’t being shown in this issue.

    In a primarily Muslim country, it’s going to be very hard for those women.

    In the traditional Muslim faith, women only have 10% equality with men. I’m wondering how so many women have managed to get into the universities.

    If all middle-eastern societies gave women equal rights, it might go some way towards resolving religious conflicts between Muslim factions.

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