An Iranian lady who has the word ” Woman” on her left hand and the word “Man” on her right hand and an equal sign between these two words, asking for the equal rights.
A brief history of women attempt for equal rights:
Throughout the history, Persian women have always been playing very important roles. In ancient Iran skilled women were being paid more than their male counterparts. Also, the Persian Empire was once ruled by Purandokht the Sassanid princess for almost two years. There were Iranian women who were soldiers and used to fight in the wars just like men. It was around 1906 that the Iranian Women Movement, which aimed to protect women’s right emerged. The accomplishments of this movement are quite notable. It successfully won the women’s right to vote in 1963 when Mohammad Reza Shah admitted to women inferior position in the society and granted them the opportunity to become members of the parliament, upper house, and public offices. This important reform is known as the White Revolution in Iran. In 1975 a law called Family protection Law was passed, which gave women even more rights. It provided women with the right of custody and divorce; it also substantially reduced polygamy. Women activist were the first who came up with the idea of higher education for women. They believed the more educated the mother, the better the children they can raise. Consequently, they started encouraging women to educate themselves. Financial support was provided to women to study abroad in 1928. In 1935, Tehran University began to admit women and by 1944 higher education has become compulsory for Iranian ladies. As a result of higher education, women became more notably involved in society. Thirty years ago when Mohammad Reza Shah left Iran and the revolution succeeded, it marked a new era for the Iranian women.
Women after Islamic revolution:
The Islamic Revolution, created many limitations for Persian ladies. As a result of Islamic rules, women must wear hijab in public places, they do not have a right to divorce, their rights are considered as half of those of men, and they are not allowed to assume certain occupations like Supreme Leader, Prime minister, President, and Judge. Yet, despite all the limitations, Iranian women have made tremendous progress during the last 30 years. In current Iran the number of educated women overweighs that of educated men. As reported by UNESCO,“Iran has the highest female to male ratio at primary level of enrollment in the world among sovereign nations, with a girl to boy ratio of 1.22: 1.00,” (Women in Iran). In a country, where most people think that women are highly suppressed, there are in fact more educated women than are educated men. Women have significantly participated in art, science, literature, film making, and in human and women rights. Among many noble women in Iran one can name Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer who won Nobel prize in 2003 for her remarkable efforts for human rights, democracy, children’s and women’s and refugee’s right. We can also name Simin Behbahani, a Nobel Prize nominee in literature, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Pouran Derakhshandeh, and Tahmineh Milani who are all very gifted directors and their movies have found vast audience inside and outside of Iran. Iranian women have also made significant progress in athletic fields such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, chess, skiing etc. Furthermore, there were many women who played very key roles in politics. Right now we have many women who are legislators in The Parliament. Furthermore, the Minister of Health and the Vice President of Scientific and Technological Affairs are both women. Another example of women’s active role in Iran was recently demonstrated by their very strong presence in the last year’s protests. They came to the streets of Tehran to show their dissatisfaction with the election results and fought much stronger than men.
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel prize winner
Simin Behbahani, Nobel prize nominee
Tahmineh Milani,Film director, Screen writer, producer, Architect
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Film director, Producer, Screen writer
Pouran Derakhshandeh, Film director, Producer,Screen writer, and Researcher
Iranian women protesting for equal rights( on the banner is said: women’s right= human’s right)
As one can see, Iranian women, despite all the suppressions and limitations that were imposed upon them throughout the history, never gave up and always resisted all restrictions and tried to move forward. They never stopped fighting for what they wanted. They have always been as influential and as strong as men. Undoubtedly, these capable and noble women in Iran will soon achieve what they really deserve.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise (Angelou).