Iranian Women. Quest for Freedom and Equality
 
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Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2011-01-04
 
Polish Sociological Review 2010;172(4):503–510
 
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ABSTRACT
The Islamic Republic of Iran is known in the world as a country of oppression and discrimination against women. Ironically, Iranian women are very active in public life and fulfil important social roles. Not only do women represent a majority of Iranian university students but many are respected academic teachers, lawyers and journalists. Educated Iranian women once backed the Islamic Revolution. However, the system that ensued restricted their freedom by introducing anachronistic regulations based on literal understanding of Islamic law (the Sharia) but, on the other hand, it opened up personal growth opportunities for women from poorer and more traditional social strata. Many of today’s Iranian feminists are the beneficiaries of the post-revolutionary education system. The Islamic Republic has given them an opportunity to get education but fails to provide them with rights that would match their qualifications: women are discriminated against at courts and married women are made dependent on their husbands who are often less educated than their wives. The Iranian regime views the quest for gender equality as a way to oppose the current political system. The proponents of equality are persecuted and imprisoned in very much the same way as dissidents who demand political liberalisation and abolishment of censorship. Simultaneously, the idea of equal rights has been incorporated into political programmes of all opponents of the current Iranian government
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