September 25, 2023

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Women & equality in the Islamic Republic of Iran

TEHRAN – Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran has paid particular attention to advancing women’s affairs and improving their rights and status.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1977 [by the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979)], there has been a tremendous change in the attitude toward the role and position of women in society. One of the most significant changes that took place was to form the identity of Iranian Muslim women, which led to the advancement of women after the Islamic Revolution.

In line with the perspicuous religion of Islam, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran considers women as the active half of the society, respects the special rights of women in various social, cultural, economic, and political fields, provides the basis for the effective presence thereof in various fields as one of the essential duties assigned thereto, and always endeavors to consider this goal in planning and enactment of laws.

Since the very first days of its popular movement, the Islamic Revolution has emphasized the importance of the role and position of women in Islamic society. It has always paid attention to the full realization of their rights based on the basic principles and within the framework of Islamic Sharia, taking into account all aspects of their personality and dimensions and characteristics of their existence.

To that end, and for the development and promotion of women, the Islamic Republic of Iran has approved several laws, which are always dynamic in nature and can be upgraded and replaced if the needs of the society change.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in this regard said, “If we adopt a comprehensive outlook, we see that there is no difference between men and women… Each gender benefits from certain outstanding qualities. Therefore, they have no differences in terms of human qualities. They have no differences in terms of the privileges which Allah the Exalted has bestowed on humanity such as human rights, social rights, spiritual values, and spiritual perfection.” (May 11, 2013)

When the Islamic Revolution of Iran started, many women in metropolitan cities marched in protest and wore chadors. Women played a significant role in the success of the Revolution. Their role was praised and encouraged by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who in a speech stated, “We must not forget the activities which women performed, notably confrontations. Iranian women were able to turn into a revolutionary, political, conscious fighting element through their conscious faith … Truly, women never lagged behind in any area or on any battleground.”

After the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini said, “Women have the right to intervene in politics. It is their duty; Islam is a political religion”.

Considering that Iran’s laws are derived from Islam, therefore, attention has been paid to women’s rights in various laws of Iran, including the Constitution, Civil Law, Islamic Penal Code, and other laws.

Ensuring the comprehensive rights of people, both men and women, and equality of the public before the Law, removing unjust discrimination, and creating fair facilities for everyone are guaranteed and taken care of in the Constitution and statute laws.

“All people of the nation, including men and women, are equally under the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the standards of Islam,” the Constitution read.

In order to ensure women’s rights in various fields, Government institutions have been tasked with providing women’s material and spiritual development and establishing the necessary facilities and arrangements. Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran has paid particular attention to advancing women’s affairs and improving their rights and status. It has also significantly improved women’s dignity, honor, and social, and human character.

“Some recommendations were made. God willing, a solution will be found for these matters. Some of these suggestions may be related to the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. These matters may need to be discussed there or in other places, especially the issue of employing our intelligent, skilled, experienced, knowledgeable, scholarly, wise, and perceptive women in different places in the country where decisions are made. This is an important matter,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. (January 4, 2023)

Women have been supported in the development programs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. One of the clear examples of the support rendered to women is the attention given thereto in the Constitution and the Law on the Sixth Five-Year Development, Economic, Social, and Cultural Plan.

In addition to the general laws, several special regulations have also been approved for the double protection of women. Moreover, the Government has approved hundreds of resolutions supporting women and families. Furthermore, the National Document for the Security of Women in Social Relations and the National Document for the Security of Children have been compiled to support and promote the rights of women and children in different physical, mental, social, and emotional dimensions.

“I would say if women do not take part in a social movement of a nation, that movement will not gain any results. It will not succeed. If women take part in a movement with awareness and insight, that movement will accelerate. In this great wave of Islamic Awakening, women play an unparalleled role, and it is necessary for them to continue this role… If women strengthen and continue their presence on the front lines, they achieve victories, one after another. There is no doubt in this regard,” said the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a July 11, 2012 speech to the International Conference on Women and Islamic Awakening.

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