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Iranian Women Celebrate "Emancipation Law"

Iranian Women Greet Anniversary of "Emancipation Law"

SMCCDI (Information Service)

January 7, 2006

Millions of Iranian Women greeted, today, the seventieth anniversary of the "Women's Emancipation Law". This measure, seeking to establish the gender equality, was adopted in 1935 and remained in full force, till its abolishment by the Islamist clergy who took the power in
1979 and instated the current "Gender Apartheid Policy".

Many Iranian women and especially young girls were seen speaking about the then revolutionary law and cherished its modernist legacy. Many were openly comparing their actual dark status with the enlighted conditions which were prevailing three decades ago, when women were equal to men and were able to enjoy of almost the same rights and degree of freedom.

Many especially among female students were openly mocking the clerics and were promising to bring them down from power.

Others were sharply criticizing controversial individuals, such as, Shirin Ebadi and Mehranguiz Kar who are currently promoted by some foreign circles as women's rights' defenders. Indeed, many Iranians remember them as the accomplices of Ayatollah Khomeini and as those who fuelled the instauration of the "Gender Apartheid Policy".

Ebadi and Kar, a then judge and a then lawyer, are well known for having pushed the limit, in their opposition to the former Iranian regime, till endorsing openly the veil by covering their heads with scarves in support of the dogmatic clerical revolution. They did such a shameful act, by end 1978, at a time that thousands of Iranian women, aware of what was going to happen if clerics would come to take the power, marched in Tehran's streets by shouting the famous slogan "Na Roossari, Na Too-Sari" (No to Veil, No to Submission).

For many it was Ebadi and Kar alikes who gave a kind of justification to Islamists for attacking women who were opposed to the Mandatory Veil and the gender discrimination.

Others were condemning some leftist groups which are still refusing to mention the name of such a memorable Iranian day and its unprecedented legacy for Iranian women. These groups are well known for only focusing on "March 8" which is the "International Women's Day" while keeping the silence, or worst, by even condemning the "Iranian women's Emancipation Law". Such controversial take of position has its root in these groups' blind opposition to Iran's former regime and the fact that most of them are in reality political shops which are capitalizing on Iranian women rather than genuinely trying to defend them.

Several female students were heard stating: "These leftist or so-called feminist groups and their activists are not genuine women defenders... They avoid mentioning and cherish such a genuine Iranian day... They're more attached to imported symbols, such as, Rosa Luxembourg as the Islamists are attached to Hussein or Ali (Shias Imams)..."

Others were blasting opportunist individuals, such as, Christian Amanpoor - the CNN Anchor of Iranian origin – who was heard justifying in her way the repression, of Iranian women, by stating that "the situation of Iranian women is not bad in general as for example and in contrary to Saudi Arabia, they have the right to drive car".

Amanpoor omitted to mention, in that 2002 San Francisco meeting, the fact that Iranian women's status and history were totally different than their Saudi Arabian sisters. In addition, it's a well known fact that the Islamic republic restituted Amanpoor's paternal properties around the same time that she was making favorable reports for the Khatami's administration.

Many were seen happy to read or hear the take of position of the former Iranian Queen who issued, today, a communiqué in remembrance of this key date and at the occasion of its seventieth anniversary. In parts of her message of hope which was widely distributed and was seen changing hand from hand, Farah Pahlavi-Diba reminded the legacy of the "Emancipation Law" and condemned the current women's status.

In another part of her statement and after calling for "women's unity around their common aspiration for emancipation", Pahlavi-Diba was correctly pointed to the fact that "It's the struggle of Iranian women which has lead to the mullahs' confusion and misery." In the closing part of this statement, the one known as the Shahbanoo predicted that "soon, Iranian women would greet the sun again...!"

The latter who benefits of an important degree of trust and popularity among Iranian masses, as a symbol of modernism and gender equality, had tried to stay afar from politic till now. But it seems that the degradation of Iran's social and political conditions have brought her to break the silence. Even, many republicans believe that Pahlavi-Diba can play a major role as a Catalyst for change in Iran.

On January 7, 1935, Reza Shah Pahlavi, founder of the former Iranian regime, shook the backwarded religious, social and political foundations which were existing since the Islamist invasion of Iran made fourteen centuries earlier. He gave back to Iranian women their past natural rights and forced the then backwarded Iranian society to accept the existence of women without the veil and as an equal partner of men in the society. The measure, unprecedented in a then Muslim country, paved the ground for Iranian women to access all social, professional and political spheres. Women who were considered till then as half of a human being were soon able to become teacher, doctor, researcher, engineer, architect, artist, lawyer, judge, ambassadress, ministry of state, soldier, sailor and even fighter pilot.

Iranian women's "right to vote" followed in 1963, meaning a year earlier than some western countries, such as, Switzerland. This law raised the Islamists anger against Mohamad-Reza Shah Pahlavi and became a key element in Khomeini's march toward political power which was gained sixteen years later.

The result of Khomeini?s accession to power and the dramatic situation of Iranian women are well known. Women were banned from many jobs or studies. The lost the right of divorce, keeping their children in case of conjugal separation. Polygamy's "right" was re-instated for men and females can be forced to marry passed the age of fourteen. Women's share of inheritance or decision has been reduced to half of a man and women are considered as a source of temptation by Islamists.

It was only due to the legacy of the "Emancipation Law" and its four decades of governmental promoted and protected application, that clerics were later unable to force Iranian women to stay at home as they intended to pass a law in that line. It's due to the very same law and its ramifications that Iranian women have, in our days, such as noticeable aspiration toward modernity and secularism.

Many believe that the Iranian women are the ultimate force who will bring down the Islamic republic regime, if a well trusted and respected feminist and modernist symbol would actively work in order to unify them.

For a better understanding of Iranian Women's struggle and the roots of the current challenges, read:

http://daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_2007.shtml

http://daneshjoo.org/publishers/currentnews/article_3109.shtml

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