Women’s Rights in Iran
Several photos and videos posted to social media during the recent Iran anti-government demonstrations have shown women removing their hijabs to protest the Iranian dress code and one woman raising her fist in the air as she walked through a cloud of tear gas.
The images are notable in that Iran severely restricts women’s rights, from what they are allowed to wear in public to the jobs they hold, to not being allowed to watch men’s sports in stadiums.
According to Amnesty International, restrictions on women’s rights in Iran include:
- Compulsory “veiling” (hijab) laws. The laws violate a woman’s right to equality, privacy, and freedoms of expression, belief and religion, and empower police and paramilitary forces to target women for harassment, violence and imprisonment.
- Limited political involvement. Women’s rights activists who had campaigned for greater representation of women in the February 2016 parliamentary elections, were subjected by the Revolutionary Guards to lengthy, oppressive interrogations and threats of imprisonment on national security charges.
- Pervasive discrimination. Women remain subject to discriminatory laws, including in gaining access to divorce, employment, equal inheritance, politics and in the area of criminal law.
- Sexual and reproductive health. Several draft laws that remain pending would further erode a woman’s right to sexual and reproductive health. Women continue to have reduced access to affordable modern contraception as the authorities have failed to restore the budget of the state family planning program cut in 2012.
- National family policies. In September 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued national family policies promoting early marriage, repeated childbearing, fewer divorces, and greater compliance to “traditional” roles of women as housewives and men as breadwinners. The policies raised concern that female victims of domestic violence may face further marginalization and increased pressure to “reconcile” with abusers and remain in abusive marital relationships.
- Gender-based violence. Women and girls remain inadequately protected against sexual and other gender-based violence, including early and forced marriage. The authorities failed to adopt laws criminalizing these and other abuses, including marital rape and domestic violence, although the Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs pushed a draft bill that had been pending since 2012.
1 in 3 women experiences violence in their lifetime: UN
United Nations has urged the governments to take immediate actions to prevent violence against women as the international women’s day is celebrated across the world on Thursday.
A statement released by the United Nations says 1 in 3 women experiences violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes. The reports released by the international human rights organizations show that millions of women are facing various violence especially in the most of the developing and Islamic countries.
Iran and Afghanistan are also among the countries, where women are victims of different types of violence. Few months before the international women’s day, dozens of Iranian women were put to jails for protesting forced hijab in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Human rights organizations express concern that the women are at the risk of being tortured or sexually abused. Iran has more strict laws for women, a country that takes it’s laws from Islam and the women activists call these laws one of the main factors of putting pressure on Iranian women.
For example, Iranian women are not allowed to run presidential election, work in the high-ranking religious positions or enter to the army. Iranian women cannot be singer in profession, they are not allowed to go outside of Iran without having permission from the male members of the family like father or husband.
This is not only for Iran, in the war-torn and improvised country of Afghanistan, neighboring Iran millions women are living under lots of pressure. However the laws have given more freedom for Afghan women comparing the Iranian, but most of the women are facing difficulties and restrictions due to the traditional laws and social constraints.
Taliban presence in the large parts of Afghanistan deprived women to go out of their homes and women in most parts of the country are treated as second or third degree citizens, in a country that millions are dollar is spent in women empowerment projects.
Afghan women are facing sexual harassment in public and even women are stoned for talking to men outside their families in some parts of the country. International women’s day is celebrated while millions of women are struggling to get even their initial rights in a male-dominated world.
AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran champions again!
The Iran women’s national futsal team has vigorously ended its campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Futsal Championship, and defended its title as the champion of the continental tournament.
The Iranian sportswomen defeated the Japanese outfit 5-2 in the final showdown of the event at Indoor Stadium Huamark in the Thai capital city of Bangkok.
Both teams began the battle as expected, playing a high pressure game with intense marking from the first blow of the whistle.
Iran and Japan national futsal teams were evenly matched and had their fair share of ball possession during the first half. Their efforts, however, failed to yield results and they went into the cloakrooms tied at nil.
The Asian powerhouses continued to present attacks after the break, until Iran’s Sara Shirbeigi unleashed a fine shot that was buried into the net in the 28th minute, and gave the reigning champions the lead.
Fereshteh Karimi then made no mistake to double Iran’s lead in the 30th minute.
Shirbeigi displayed spectacular individual skills later on, when she dribbled through the Japanese defense before netting her brace.
The Iranian skipper completed her hat trick in the 31st minute.
Japan’s numerous attempts to pull back a goal finally paid off in the 36th minute and Mika Eguchi opened the scoring for her side.
Fahimeh Zarei then shot into the goalmouth, and put Iran 5-1 in front.
Anna Amishiro jabbed Japan’s second goal of the match in the 39th minute.
Earlier in the day, Thailand clinched the third place, defeating 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the exciting play-off against Vietnam ended scoreless.
President of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) Mehdi Taj, head coach of Iran’s national football team Carlos Queiroz and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, in separate messages, have felicitated the triumph, and praised the efforts made by female Iranian futsal players to win the championship.
The 2018 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship, which was the second edition of the international event, started on May 2 and closed on May 12, 2018.
The Manchester mum campaigning to end pregnancy discrimination at work
Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer.
She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day.
After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career.
In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work.
Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer. She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day. After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career. In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work. Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer. She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day. After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career. In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work.
Women journalists in Afghanistan defiant in the face of violence
The dangers of working as a journalist in Afghanistan have been dramatically underlined by an attack in the capital Kabul on Monday in which nine Afghan photographers and reporters were killed. They had gone to report on a suicide attack, and were targeted by a second suicide bomber when they arrived on the scene.
The cold-blooded killings took place just days before World Press Freedom Day marked annually on May 3rd.
Outside the Afghan capital, the dangers of reporting the news, particularly as a woman, have never been so apparent.
Sediqa Sherzai is the news director of Radio-TV Roshani, a media organization In Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan. Her female reporters are under constant threat not only from insurgents but also from men who do not want women to work in the media.
“When insurgents seized Kunduz in 2015, they came immediately for our station because they didn’t like our content focused on women’s rights,” she said. “Even though most of our reporters fled in advance of their arrival. They looted our equipment and destroyed what they could not take.”
Despite the challenges of working as a woman in the media in a conservative and conflict-affected country, Sediqa Sherzai is committed to ensuring that the voices of Afghan women are heard ahead of the country’s elections slated for October this year.
In the volatile province of Kunduz where some territory is beyond government control, women say they fear to speak to the media and talk about human rights, much less advocate openly for democracy and change. Even Sediqa Sherzai and her staff of women shy away from photographs, cautiously protecting their identities.
Elections are considered essential to solidify fragile the social and human rights advances made during the last 17 years. The struggle for full women’s suffrage in Afghanistan, reminiscent of similar fights in centuries past in other nations, has gained broader international support in the last two decades.
Screaming woman ‘is viciously beaten by women in Iran because her red headscarf is deemed an “insufficient” hijab’
A terrified woman has been savagely beaten by morality police thugs in Iran because her headscarf was deemed an ‘insufficient’ covering, activists said.
The outrageous scene, in what appears to be a public park in broad daylight, was secretly filmed by an onlooker and has been spread online by dissident groups.
The disturbing footage initially shows a woman with a red scarf pushed to the back of her head having a heated conversation with a man and another woman.
Seconds later, two women wearing all-black coverings that leave only their faces visible barge onto the scene and begin grabbing and shouting at the woman.
The aggressive goons – who are believed to be members of the Islamic theocracy’s morality police – become increasingly violent towards their frightened victim.
Other women, who do not appear to be members of the force, assist the primary attackers as an argument rages throughout.
The victim can be heard screeching in terror as the sickening abuse continues.
She can later be seen lying on the floor, crying in pain and without her headscarf, as a large crowd surrounds her.
At the end of the video, the brutal attackers can be seen pointing and shouting at members of the crowd who appear to disagree with their barbaric actions.
Egypt women fight for right to army combat posts
While President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared 2017 to be the “Year of the Egyptian Woman,” it failed to empower women militarily. Still, Jihad el-Komy, founder of the Moganada Masriya (Female Egyptian Conscript) campaign has continued to seek to convince officials to accept Egyptian women as soldiers and officers in combat units of the armed forces. On March 11, Komy met with Maya Morsi, head of the National Council for Women, to ask her to bring up the campaign to other top government officials.
Morsi praised the campaign as a true reflection of Egyptian women’s increasing awareness of the security threats facing the country. She promised to discuss the demands of the campaign with officials and pointed out that such strong determination will put the campaign’s demands into force very soon. Morsi, however, has yet to take tangible steps in the matter.
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Komy said the campaign was launched in June 2011 but failed to receive adequate media coverage due to the political situation in Egypt following the January 25 Revolution.
She said calls for Egyptian women to be recruited into the armed forces have been recurrent since Sisi praised the role of women in the Jan. 25 and June 30 revolutions and following the 2014 presidential elections, which prompted the wide use in December 2014 of a hashtag that translates as “Egyptian female soldier.”
Komy said all this allowed her, in February 2015, to meet with then-Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, who promised to consider allowing women in combat roles and come up with the necessary legal amendments. He raised the issue with the Cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. However, no progress was achieved as Mehleb’s term came to an end in September of the same year.
She said she then tried to raise the issue in September 2015 by asking many citizens from various provinces to sign a petition calling for allowing women to become soldiers and officers in the army’s combat units, but her attempt was not met by any official response.
“We reiterated our calls for [including] young women in the armed forces in February 2018, concurrently with the comprehensive armed forces operation in the Sinai Peninsula against terrorism, as four young women went to volunteer in the Egyptian armed forces Feb. 15,” she added.
This year, Komy’s repeated calls have received wide media coverage, especially after she met with Morsi. Several newspapers and media outlets interviewed Komy, most recently the Masrawy portal. During a March 13 interview with Masrawy, Komy reiterated her call for Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhy to consider the recruitment of young women, their participation in the war and arming them in emergency cases such as that of the comprehensive operation in Sinai. She said more than 20,000 young women are willing to join the army.
Komy noted that the campaign does not aim to impose conscription on women, as is the case with men, but rather to allow their voluntary recruitment into combat troop units, instead of having their role limited to being in the administrative and nursing departments, as is currently the case.
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, and Women Have the Right to Equality in Sport
Today, on the United Nations (UN) International Day of Sport For Development and Peace, we are reminded of the unifying power of sport and its role in sending a message of peace and equality for all. The field of play offers a powerful platform for social change — for dismantling barriers and building bridges, and for bringing people together regardless of race, nationality or gender. Yet, discrimination against women persists in many areas, including in the athletic arena, even as attitudes around gender-based stereotypes continue to evolve.
As an Olympian myself — and as a broadcaster who started covering the Olympics at age 17 — I have seen firsthand how participation and access to sports can help to close the gender gap.
Sports can and do have a positive influence on the advancement of gender equality. Not only does the field of play provide a platform upon which to build a better world, it also allows for a space where we can promote gender equality, giving girls and women equal opportunities to benefit from sport. There is no better venue for this than the Olympics. Every country competing must follow the same rules and play on the same field – and having the opportunity to represent your country and meet strong, talented women from around the world opens up your perspectives. The Olympics become an equalizer within women’s sports.
Playing sports empowers female athletes with the skills and confidence to survive and thrive in the world today, on and off the field. Individual and team sports have the power to transcend the boundaries of gender, religion, race and nationality. They promote health and wellness, self-confidence, decision-making and social skills, and, above all, perseverance. Women in sport smash gender stereotypes, providing inspiring role models for all girls, and portraying gender equality.
Opening Up Opportunities
While we’ve come a long way in leveling the playing field in terms of gender equality, it wasn’t always this way. When I competed in the Rome 1960 Summer Olympic Games, and in the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games, the opportunities and resources available to female athletes were extremely limited. Women competed for less than one-third of the medals. The first women’s Olympic team sport — volleyball — was only added in Tokyo — forget the marathon, forget basketball and soccer, and never mind how the press portrayed female Olympic athletes at that time. It was not until 1972, with the passage of Title IX, which I proudly helped champion, that things began to change.
Time right to do more in the uplifting status of women
Kenya this year celebrated the International Women’s Day with the launch of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s strategic plan for beyond zero campaign to end maternal and child deaths.
While the importance of this initiative cannot be disputed, the sole focus on it by Kenya’s top leadership denied the country a chance to critically examine what progress has so far been made broadly on women’s rights and what more need to be done to achieve gender equality, including in the three areas of political representation, ownership of land and economic participation.
In 2017, for the first time three women were elected governors and another three as senators. While this has been hailed as a great milestone, we must not forget that this only constitutes six per cent of women in the senate and in governorship, in a country whose population is 52 per cent women.
In Parliament, out of 290 elected members, only 23 are women. At 12 per cent, this is the lowest in the region. And despite the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of parliamentarians cannot be of the same gender, Parliament remains unconstitutionally constituted.
Further, it has been a long and violent journey even for those that have been elected. These women fought against a culture and a patriarchal system that does not believe in women’s leadership, against political parties whose nomination process are not based on merit but favouritism, and on the elections trail, they fought against politically instigated violence. There also is an unacceptable minimisation of women in politics.
Rights to ownership of land
The 2010 Kenyan constitution gives equal rights to men and women, boys and girls to inherit land, but this is just not happening.
Harassment, Humiliation and Sexism, Ignored for Years
Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday.
The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him.
“Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference.
Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday. The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him. “Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference. Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday. The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him. “Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference.