by Sassa on November 4, 2014 - 9:44am

The screen in black, a women is crying and after few minutes there is the sound of a baby crying. There is another woman, she is waiting for news about her daughter and the newborn, finally a nurse appears and says “It's a girl”. Now the woman's face is covered with terror.

27.10.2014, Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26 years old, is hanged because she was found guilty of murder; when she was 19 years old, she stabbed Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, 47 years old, a former intelligence agent, that had tried to rape her.

These two scenes come from Iran: the first one is the first scene of the movie The Circle, directed by Jafar Panahi in 2000; while the second one is the story of another Iranian women found guilty after an unfair judgement.

These two stories have an important point in common: women. They are the protagonists and the victims of these stories, they represent the birth and the death of a girl in a country in which gender discrimination is part of the culture and the base of the legal system. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a state in which gender discrimination has still an high power and it is rooted also inside the society.

There are many laws that state the inequality between men and women in the public and private sphere of daily life, for example the Family Law, Article 1041 of the Civil Code, set a minimum age for marriage at 15 years old for girls and 18 years old for boys, it was amended in 1982 and now the minimum age for marriage is 9 years old for girl and 15 years old for boys. Then Article 1041 states that the marriage of a virgin girl, even if they have reached the age of puberty, is dependent on the permission of her father or her paternal grandfather. Another article of the Civil Code states that a woman can contract only one marriage, instead a man can have more than one wife.

These articles show that girls are discriminated, they are treated different from boys, starting from their birth, then when parents plan the marriage and finally also after it. Husband and wife aren't equal, as a matter of fact, at the core of the marriage contract is the wife's tamkin (submission), defined as an unhampered sexual availability that is regarded as a man's right and a woman's duty...the wife’s failure to comply with the lawful wishes of her husband constitutes "nushuz" (disobedience)...can also create legal grounds for polygamy, divorce, or domestic violence.

The woman is treated as an object as a property of man, many of the daily activities of a woman depend from the husband or father consent. If a woman wants to leave the country, she needs the consent of her husband to obtain the passport; if a woman wants to work she needs the approval of her husband; only the husband has an unilateral right to divorce.

These different treatments can be seen also inside the movie The Circle, for example when Pari wants an abortion, she needs the consent of the father or of the husband, or when a woman cannot smoke in a public place and inside the bus of the police until also men are smoking.

Iranian laws doesn't protect women, even if they would need more protection than men; from the revolution in 1979, very few has been done to support the development and emancipation of Iranian women.

The knowledge of the situation in which Iranian women have to live, certainly causes anger and dismay on a person that lives in a Western and developed country, but are we totally sure that there isn't gender discrimination also inside our countries? Women and men really have same rights or some of them are equal only on paper? Western and developed countries are really committed on improve women's conditions? The number of femicides increase every year in developed countries, but how many States are adopting policies to protect women from men violence?

Women's rights still need time to be totally recognised and protected, not only in developing countries as Iran, but also in developed countries, even if seems that women have already achieve all their goals.

Gender Inequality and Discrimination: the Case of Iranian Women, Iran Human Rights Documentation center, http://iranhrdc.org/english/publications/legal-commentary/1000000261-gender-inequality-and-discrimination-the-case-of-iranian-women.html#10


About the author

Hello everybody!

I'm Sara, I'm 24 years old and I'm an Italian student.