It already sucks to be a woman in Iran. Under Sharia law, Iranian women cannot marry non-Islamic men, they must cover their hair at all times, and their testimony in court is worth half that of a man’s. Furthermore, Iranian women can only divorce their husbands under extreme conditions. While none of this injustice is breaking news, one more ludicrous law is threatening to be added on to the heap. According to Hossein Naghavi-Hosseini, the speaker of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, a newly proposed bill would dictate that, “married women of any age need the written consent of their husband to be able to have a passport and single women above the age of 18 will need the permission of their guardian.” Iranian women have always needed the permission of their spouse in order to leave the country (ugh), but divorced women have been allowed to travel relatively unimpeded. Until now, that is. Under this new bill, single adult women will need a guardian’s approval (most likely their father’s) in order to travel.
The Iranian parliament
Did I mention that a predominately conservative parliament will be debating the bill? If passed, it will mark a huge blow against Iranian women’s rights activists, who have long hoped to abolish Iran’s archaic laws regarding female travel. Women’s rights activist Asieh Amini explains, “Iran’s women…are becoming every day more independent, and because of that they naturally need more contacts with the outside world. Unfortunately, instead of facilitating their growth, government laws and decisions move toward limiting their activities. The article [being debated in the parliament] is yet another example of such limiting moves.” If this abominable bill passes, it will mark another in a long line of laws constructed by Iranian men in order to limit the rights and restrict the freedom of Iranian women.
Photos via ahram.org and enduringamerica.com
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