Cartoon 47: International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Iranian women are seeing their rights challenged and their advances curtailed. In his most recent report on human rights in Iran, UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed explored several of the recent attacks on women’s rights in Iran.
“I began this report with special focus on women’s rights,” Shaheed told the Guardian.
Over the past 30 years, Iran “has made remarkable advances in literacy, access to education for women, and women’s health,” Shaheed’s report states. However, over the last year, Iranian authorities have restricted women’s access to certain fields of education. Furthermore, Shaheed’s report points out, “The educational attainment of Iranian women is not yet reflected in their current economic status” nor in their labor participation.
In recent months, Iranian authorities have attempted to restrict the movement of women: in January 2013, Iran’s Parliament proposed a bill banning single women from travel without a male guardian. Similar attempts to limit the rights of unmarried women include four articles recently proposed by members of the Majilis, which “require women to be married in order to become members of a university’s scientific committee, or to be employed at the Ministry of Education and Training,” according to the Special Rapporteur’s report.
In the political sphere, women are excluded by law from the presidency. The Special Rapporteur’s report also cited “legislative attempts to reinforce polygamy and reduce work hours for women, as well as current policy proposals that discriminate against women in education and further limit their civil rights.”
Remaining unchanged are Iranian penal and civil laws that encode specific provisions discriminating against women, including the lesser value of their testimony in court as compared to men, women’s significantly curtailed rights in both marriage and divorce, and the legal value of a woman’s life being worth half that of a man’s.