Not property, live-stock or slaves

Inhumane, irrational and outdated laws against women must come to an end


Not property, live-stock or slaves
by Elham Yaghoubian

The acceleration in the rate of literacy among Iran’s women, paired with their significant achievements in education during the last three decades has empowered them to fight for their rights, and challenge the institutionalized discrimination against them.

Advancements in communication technology play an important role in the wave of women’s empowerment, as it is one of the most effective channels through which to advocate equality, and to educate other women on how to reclaim their rights. The increase of female bloggers, and their participation in the virtual world exposes Iran’s women to viewpoints that they might have never had the opportunity to consider.

After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian women were stripped of many of the rights they had gained through the years prior. Still today, the fundamentalists deny the equality of women through outdated laws and regulations, meant to oppress the sector of society, and restrict the role of women in public life. Just as an example, the Islamic laws upheld by the regime are highly discriminatory towards mothers just as outrageous; violence against women is not always considered a crime. Today, it is not secret that women are suffering from violent and suppressive force under the Islamic laws, the laws which are the founding principles of the Islamic Regime.

Islamic Republic is one of the most discriminatory regimes in today’s world. Tens of thousands of women have been executed in Iran since the infamous Islamic revolution- among them were 13 years old girls, pregnant women as well as the elderly. According to the 2009 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 103rd on the Gender Empowerment Measure among the 182 countries surveyed. But Iran’s discriminatory vision is not confined to Iran, its backwardness is being exported to Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey, among other Islamic countries. Women in these states are increasingly experiencing the wrath of discrimination as preached by Iran’s Ayatollahs.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the value of a women is half that of a man. A Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrian woman is worth a quarter of a Moslem man. There is no value for not recognized religions like Baha’i—killing them is no crime.

In Iran, the right of divorce is absolutely with men. Women do not have legal custody of their children; even if the husband is deceased- custody is given to the nearest living male relative. Women’s inheritance rights are half that of men. Iran’s women are not allowed to leave home, work or enroll in university or travel without their husbands’ permission. Women are excluded from working as judges or holding positions in main organs of the government. Their testimonies as witness in court are half as credible. The Islamic Laws consider women “immature,” stating they need guardians; yet a nine year old girl can be punished as an adult by flogging, and execution.

In 2007 a family protection bill was presented in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Parliament. This bill, despite its name, only further destabilizes the family by robbing women further of their rights. Under this law, men are allowed temporary marriages without consent of the first wife.

During Khatami’s presidency, parliament passed a bill to prohibit the publication of materials that defended women’s rights and announced that advocates of women’s right are subject to “imprisonment and lashing for violations.” Also a proposal for sexual segregation in hospitals and medical institutions introduced to parliament but was rejected only for the cost.

More than 60% of Iran’s students today are women, yet they receive a mere 13% of job opportunities. Recently, Kamran Deneshjou, Minister of Science, Research and Technology announced his support to limit the acceptance of female students in universities in certain fields, in favor of male students.

This is all just a glance on discriminatory laws and policies against women in Iran.

Despite the knowledge that breaking the law might lead to execution, women have been noticeable at the forefront of the movement for democratic change in Iran. These activists have faced harassment, torture, travel bans and detention. The most inconceivable types of torture are inflicted on female prisoners who are only provided with the minimum of health services behind prison walls, if any.

Execution, imprisonment, flogging and denial of work have starkly increased in the last few years. Verdicts for the death penalty cases have been shamelessly obtained based on confession during tortures in Iran infamous hidden prisons where ‘secret’ executions are known to take place as well.

More than 50 percent of Media and Communication graduates are women, which perhaps explains why Iran is ranked highest in the world in the imprisonment of journalists. There are 325 journalists believed to be in prison, about 100 of which are female. They punished solely for the exercise of free speech, which is not a right under Islamic Law.

The treatment of women under Islamic Rule in Iran is blasphemous. Women are not property, live-stock or slaves to be pushed around and dictated to, denied their natural rights and humiliated on a daily basis. The 21st century is a time for progress and forward thinks- equality, camaraderie and integrity. The Islamic Republic’s legal code which, is cleverly devised to maintain the elevated position of men in society, is an outdated tool being used against Iran’s women. Unfortunately, the world has chosen to stand by- idly, allowing for the oppressive nature of radical Islamic to re-assert itself in today’s world.

Inhumane, irrational and outdated laws against women must come to an end.

Elham Yaghoubian, is a writer, activist and Co-founder of MPG, Iranians for a Secular Republic organization.


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Esfand Aashena

Women’s inheritance rights are 1/8 that of men, not half.

by Esfand Aashena on

If your husband dies you get 1/8 of the inheritance and the rest to be distributed among the children.  If the child is a daughter again 1/8 goes to her and the rest distributed evenly among the boys.

I don't know what is the share if you are a woman, your husband dies and they don't have any children.  Does the woman get 100% of the inheritance?  

Everything is sacred


More stupid, ignorant propaganda

by Shutruk on


Honestly, at times I think some of the people on this site have never ever been to Iran recently.

Iranian women are not treated as chattel - they would never allow this. It is misgogynistic to assume that they have no voice.


The fact is that women in Iran:


1) Vote and hold public office. (Iran has women vice-presidents, Majlis deputies, municipality members,cabinet ministers and mayors)

2) Work in practically every profession.

3) Attend university and gain doctorates.

4) Drive cars.

5) Participate in the arts, media and sport.

6) Serve as lawyers even if they are prevented from being judges.


Now, compare that with Saudi Arabia.


The issue of inheritance in Islamic law is totally just. Since men are obligated to work, whereas women are not, it is fair that they should receive more with which to invest. A married woman can claim maintenance from her husband and is also entitled to a dowry.

If a woman really wants a divorce, her husband is not going to stop her. How do you explain the high divorce rate in Iran?  The majority of women marry whom they please. If the husband turns out to be abusive,  they have to accept responsibility for choosing him.

Soosan Khanoom

I agree Azadeh azizam

by Soosan Khanoom on

for sure no
No political Islam & no Clergy 

no political religion of any kind I should say .... and no clergy of any kind either .......

well said Azadeh jan ......

Please see what i just blogged . 

 Come , Let's Fall In Love Again


I still would like to discuss a few  things later with you on the issue of women and religion ......  I appreciate your input cause i have found you a very open minded  person to discuss issues with despite of our occasional but not serious disagreements.......... so many thanks dear Azadeh 


Azadeh Azad

No political Islam & no Clergy

by Azadeh Azad on

Thank you, dear Soosan, for your further explanation. This is the way my parents lived before the 1979 revolution. They simply ignored the horrible parts of Islam and followed human-made laws of the land. All they did was to pray 3 times a day and when they could, fast once a year.

Ignoring social and ideological parts of Koran and Hadith and sticking to spirituality is an essential way to the salvation of our nation. For that, the concept of a Clergy as interpreters of Islam to be followed has to be completely eliminated.




Soosan Khanoom

Azadeh jan / Revised

by Soosan Khanoom on

Islam has  spiritual as well social aspect.  I am talking about social aspect  of the Islamic verses . This has nothing to do with contradicting "God"'s words ........ Social issue are adjustable and I do not see any verses in Quran that disagree with that . 

You may think that they are not subjected to any  interpretation.  I am saying the verses that concern our day to day social life should be interpretated based on the time that one's live in.  What you are thinking and stating is what exactly the mullas want people to say. I firmly stand against it.  In addition to that I am not also going to bring crazy excuses to proof something that does not make sense in today's life (example:the specific verse you mentioned) and  since I have not lived 14 centuries age I can not judge this social verse either.  So I let it stands as it is and I try to fit it in a way that suits my life as a woman today. Or as you mentioned it ignore it.  And yes we can do that wether anyone agrees or not.  

That is me, a muslim woman ,and I want to make it happen and I have the right to think this way and I do not necessarily follow any one  or any school of thoughts in that regards.  I told you when it comes to Quran we each have one vote. You and many others can vote differently I vote this way.  I support the voice of the progressive muslim women.  There are many beautiful and incredible spiritual verses in Quran that I enjoy and because of just a few adjustable social verses I am not going to let the only benefit I get from this book  to be in its denial. 

I will get to this in more detail later as this is a very important subject.

By the way no where in Quran is mentioned about stoning. There is no single verse that even suggest stoning.  This is in bible but not Quran.  Now why on earth they stone people in Iran I have no idea. 

talk to you later  :) 


Soosan Khanoom


by Soosan Khanoom on


Azadeh Azad

Dear Soosan

by Azadeh Azad on

You did not answer my question. When you cannot defend a statement, it is wise not to make it.  I do know about women you have mentioned as well as many more like-minded ones. I am not impressed by them.

The tradition of hermeneutics has existed for a while among some Iranian women who call themselves "Islamic feminists" such as Shahla Sherkat. The result is catastrophic in its ridiculous sense.

One of these so-called interpretations  foolishly assert that Koran is not patriarchal, but our culture is. While, firstly, Koran and the Bible are major *pillars* of patriarchy. These books and their corresponding religions have * invented and established patriarchy.* You should have read my series on the Origin and Nature of Patriarchy.  

Secondly, to say that Islam and Koran are not patriarchal, but our culture is, is simply meaningless. Anyone who is familiar with Sociology 101, knows that religion is an inherent part of the culture. Separating them is meaningless and unscientific.  Furthermore, if you are a practising Muslim, you have to believe that Koran is the word of God that cannot be interpreted to the point of contradicting "God"'s words. No Hermeneutics can spin the misogynous nature of a law that states the witness of one man is equal to the witness of two women.

But if you are not a practicing Muslim, then why do you defend Islam? Let Muslin women who have been brainwashed by their male relatives and the IRI's propaganda machine do this anti-woman job.

If your defense of Koran and Islam is part of some ideology such as Shariati's and the likes, then I don't see any point in discussing these issues. The only way Islam can be reformed is by *ignoring* its inhumane and irrational laws.* We have Stoning of the women in the Bible as well. Judeo-Christians have stopped practising it by simply ignoring it, not by interpreting it.




Soosan Khanoom

Azadeh jan

by Soosan Khanoom on

I believe any social law in Quran is subjected to the interpretation of the time that we live in ....... and definitely the gender had an extremely important role in the interpretation of these laws  .....  we should not necessarily see it as the law of land .......  I hope one day we do not even have such a laws ..... i hope one day we will be able to separate religion of any kind from the state and its laws .......  but even if the laws are non religious ........ the are muslim women who give up their rights anyway ...... and that happens in any country at any given time .. they are passive and submitted women with no opinion of their own ....... i want that mentality to be changed FOREVER  ........  that is what I mean by progressive muslim woman ........ in my opinion when it comes to Quran we each have one vote ....... man or woman ........ after all anything that is subjected to interpretation is not immune of that .......  i do not see any reason that  a mullah knows better than me .......  i do not believe in the bull shit of Marja-e-Tagleed ......    These are bunch of craps ........... 

Have you heard of Amina  Wadud ?  check her on line and see what I am talking about ........ She decided to conduct the prayer sessions as an Imam but no single Mosque in the U.S let her in ....... She finally did that in  a church .......



Have you heard of, Laleh Bakhteeyar, the first woman ever who translated Quran?  check all the fights over her 

My dear Azizadeh there is a war going on between blinded conservative men who believe in Islam and progressive women who believe in it .......... we need to fight for a just cause no matter what 

Azadeh Azad


by Azadeh Azad on

This is the second (or more) time you speak of "bias interpretation of Islamic laws." How would "progressive Muslim women" interpret the Islamic decree that considers the witness of one man to be equal to the witness of two women?


G. Rahmanian

A Sober Analysis!

by G. Rahmanian on

A sober analysis of the barbaric Islamic law which is the real cause of the deplorable socio-economic conditions in which Iranian women have been suffering for tha past three decades. The only way out of these dehumanizing conditions for Iranians, in general, and Iranian women, in particular, is to establish a democracy in Iran.


anymore tedious platitudes

by ComraidsConcubine on


Soosan Khanoom

Thank you for this great article

by Soosan Khanoom on

You stated ,

The acceleration in the rate of literacy among Iran’s women, paired with their significant achievements in education during the last three decades has empowered them to fight for their rights, and challenge the institutionalized discrimination against them."

Well stated.

In my opinion women's education is the Key. 

Women's right is something that women themselves have to fight for it.  No one not even the world's human rights organizations can provide it for Iranian women . We all have seen how they have failed to do so. It should come from within and it only can be achieved as more women get educated and enlightened.  

Iranian women aboard and especially those inside Iran are the only ones who can win this fight. This is a fight against male dominant religious figures with their super bias interpretation of Islamic laws as well as a fight against the rusty old culture of Iran and Iranians.  

In my humble opinion we need more progressive muslim women in Iran today.   In a country that more than 90 percent of its population are muslims I see no other way to tackle this subject .......  We have to open the eyes of practicing muslim women and warn them about the dangers of falling in the wrong path. Making them aware that if they do not stand up for their rights no one will  .....

Great article Elham jan .... I loved it ...

Thank you : ) 



Thank you Ms. Yaghoubian

by IranFirst on

Thank you. More Power to Shir Zanan-e Irani (who have lost the most under barbaric Islam/IRI) to re-gain their freedom and all their human rights in a free secular Iran

Azadeh Azad

irrational and offensive Islamic laws

by Azadeh Azad on

as well as their malign cultural ramifications must be brought to an end. Thank you, Elham, for this article.



Thank you

by Fred on

The ruling Islamist Rapists in Iran are nothing without their dogma mandated uber-misogynistic laws and practices. Misogyny is their raison d'être .

Very good article, thank you.