Iran, Islamic Rep.

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Women activists played a significant role in the Iranian Revolution, but following it, with changes to the civil and penal codes and enforced segregation and public veiling, women lost the limited equal rights that they had enjoyed under the previous regime.[1] In addition, high rates of unemployment among women mean that for many women, their economic autonomy is limited. However, despite considerable restrictions on their civil liberties, women in Iran are active and visible in the public sphere, particularly in education and civil society, and stereotypes regarding acceptable gender roles are being challenged.[2] In addition, a study by Moghadam notes that women’s human rights in Iran have advanced, especially in regard to family, religion and community, partly as a result of urbanisation, and of the high numbers of women entering education.[3]There is an active and confrontational women’s movement, which contains women working to improve women’s rights within the framework of the existing Islamic regime, as well as those calling for secular rights.[4] As a result of their activities, such women are frequently in considerable danger and risk of persecution and arrest. Many young women were among those active – and arrested – during large scale demonstrations in 2009, following disputed elections.[5]
The Iranian Constitution calls for gender equality before the law at Article 20, although this is negated by the enforcement of discriminatory civil and criminal laws that subordinate women.[6] Iran has not signed or ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), on the grounds that to do so would contradict Islamic law.[7] The Centre for Women’s Affairs and Family coordinates government policy in relation to improving women’s status in society.[8]

[1] Tohidi (2010) p.121 [2] Freedom House (2010) [3] Valentine M. Moghadam (n.d.). pp.2-3 [4] Tohidi (2010) p.144 [5] Amnesty International (2010) p.173-174 [6] Tohidi (2010) p.124 [7] United Nations Treaty Collection (n.d.) [8] JICA (2007) p.11

 

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