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Women in Science and Technology

Appeal to support the Iranian women’s movement in order to abolish gender discrimination

Tuesday 29 May 2018

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [فارسى]


The 44th Conference of „Women in Science and Technology“ (Frauen in Naturwissenschaft und Technik (FiNuT)) 2018 in Darmstadt appeals to the German public to support the Iranian women´s human rights movement, in order to abolish the ruling discrimination against them, the deprivation of their social rights preventing them from making personal choices freely.

The assembled conference members support the Iranian women´s movement with this resolution. They claim the abolishment of low status of women in Iran and all discrimination forms aginst them. Specifically they claim the immediate abolition of discriminatory dress codes and compulsory veiling as well as the elimination of blatant legal discrimination against women in family, social and business life. This is indispensable for a social transformation there and serves simultaneously the international liberation of women.

Present situation

The following topics describe the secondariness and paternalism of Iranian women in various areas of daily life, which are to be regarded as human rights violations. The compulsory veiling and other clothing codes in public life were ordered by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 merely three weeks after the „Revolution“, despite his propositions before coming into the power. Women are massively disadvantaged in family law matters. Men are allowed to be married with four women at the same time and may also take up to 40 temporary marriage contracts. The right to file for divorce and child custody is generally granted to men, to women however only in rare cases. Women are disadvantaged in inheritance law: male family members are entitled to twice as much legacy as women. In case of a husband´s death, a woman with children may only inherit 1/8 of his legacy. Women are also massively disadvantaged in business life. In business transactions and in front of court the female vote counts for only half as much as a man’s one. Women‘s career choices are also restricted, for example, women are admitted as judges only in special district family courts. Women are neither admitted to uppest position in the clergy, nor as a president of Iran. Women are affected by lay-offs from universities, schools and public authorities, like many dissidents, who are decruited due to ideological reasons. Women are not allowed to perform as solo singers. They may not travel abroad without a male family member’s permisson. Women may not attend sport events in stadiums along with men. These gender discriminations are violations of women´s human rights.

Daily women ´s resistance

The resistance of Iranian women over the past 39 years has occured impressively, partly in form of civil courage and partly in form of a civil rights movement, despite politically and religiously motivated regulations, revenge acts and ordered contract killings against them. More than 66% of students in Iran are women. They defy and oppose the dress code. Unmarried couples venture cohabitation, despite the respective strict ban. There are several women’s organisations of like-minded women. Centres for gender studies have been established at some universities. Iranian women have achieved international recognition as executive directors, lawyers, artists and writers. Among the Iranian women there are a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a space tourist and the first woman in the world, who was awarded with the Fields Medal for Mathematics. In political movements and as political prisoners women have been involved, defending their rights, currently as “Daughters of the Revolution Street” defying the compulsory veiling. The Iranian women’s movement has proven itself as a non-violent and progressive human rights movement, and refers its demands for equality and freedom to the international human and women rights declarations.

Darmstadt, 05/12/2018

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