News / Middle East

Iranian Women Suffer Many Difficulties Under Islamic Republic

Iranian women enjoy some freedoms that women in other countries of the Middle East do not enjoy, but many complain about the sexist treatment they must endure.

International Women's Day is an annual event that underscores, for many Iranian women, just how many freedoms have been taken away since the Iran's revolution in 1979.

Iranian state TV, during celebrations of that revolution last month, made a point of editing pre-revolution film footage to remove images of unveiled women wearing western garb.  Wearing the all-encompassing Islamic veil has been compulsory in Iran since the revolution.

Taraneh Mohammedi, which is not her real name, explains to VOA what life is like for a woman living in Iran.  

"You can only believe that you are living under the rule of the mullahs if you walk in the streets of Tehran the way you wish to walk.  When you step outside of your own world you are forced to be something else," she said.  "The looks of these criminals watch you everywhere, watch all your moves, control everything from the way you dress to a sudden smile that forms your lips.  Your presence is like a dagger landing on their dirty minds; they cannot bear the free presence of even one woman in the streets.  A while ago before I [attended] university they only controlled the color of my dress, an extra band of my hair coming out of the compulsory veil, and the length of my dress.  But since I became a student, they control everything, most of all they want to control my thoughts."

Taraneh says many religious students look down on her presence at the university.  "It is an everyday struggle to be here as a woman," she adds.

Radio Farda spoke with a number of Iranian women and most complained about laws that restrict the rights of women.

Mehrdad Khonsari of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London says prior to the 1979 revolution Iranian women had won a privileged status in the Middle East, enjoying most of the same civil rights as their Western counterparts:

"They had a right to be elected to office, they had a right to serve as ministers, ambassadors, positions that they invariably filled, and even people like [Nobel Peace prize winner] Shirin Ebadi enjoyed a position of being a judge, a position that was subsequently taken away from her in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, when Islamic laws replaced the modern civil laws in the country and the main sufferers of the Iranian Revolution in the end were really women, whose many rights were taken away from them," said Khonsari.

Women in Iran, unlike their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, are allowed to drive their own cars, but they say they are constantly harassed and arrested for not wearing regulation veils or allowing their hair to show from underneath them.

Faiza Hashemi, the daughter of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has campaigned tirelessly to allow women to play sports and Iran does have an extensive national women's sports program.  But women are not allowed to attend sports competitions alongside men and they must compete while wearing Islamic attire.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Secret Service Head to be Questioned Over White House Intruder

Julia Pierson will be questioned about the latest break-in well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid