As a proposal of the Socialist International in 1910, International Women's Day (March 8) was celebrated for the first time in many industrial countries.  It demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

Since then, the International Women's Day is commemorated and also is a national holiday in communist countries. It symbolises a long struggle of all women on all continents, with different ethnics, religions, cultures and social classes, who have been deprived from the equal right with men.

Today, we know that struggle for equality, justice, peace, democracy, secularism and development is not separated from the struggle against Islamomisogyny.

International Women's Day is a symbol of women as integral partner-makers of history. It is a denial of all form of religious gender discrimination considering women less worthy than men. The day is rooted in the historical struggle against the Dark Ages of European church, a demand for “liberty, equality, fraternity” during the French Revolution.

The International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. Nevertheless, the growing international political Islam, which has been strengthened by the IRI, is a new serious barrier in the way. Today, despite many coordinated efforts in the world, the international community along with the United Nations practically ignore the fate of hundreds of millions of women who are conscious or unconscious victims of Islamic misogyny.

While 8 March was a secular symbol against the Catholic Church, is now becoming a worldwide struggle against the misogyny of Islamic mosque. Today, the horrendous shadow of Islamomisogyny has spread its wings over our society.

What concerns Iranian Women, under the IRI, the legal removal of barriers is not possible at all.If we want to push back the religious legacy that puts women at a disadvantage in most and all Islamic societies, we have to remove the religious regime.

According to the World Health Organization, 85 million to 115 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation; this practice is carried out in many Islamic countries, including 28 African countries, despite the fact that it is outlawed and condemned by the international community.

In a number of countries, women who have been raped are sometimes killed by their own families to preserve the family's honour. Honour killings as a legacy of Islamic traditions have been reported in Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other Persian Gulf countries.

Rape as a means of humiliation, confession and torture has been used against women in Iranian political prisons. Rape of non-Muslims before execution is systematically committed, like Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian Journalist, as an example among many others.

Since 1979, a very fast growing majority of the Iranian women identified as “Bad- hijab” (mal-veiled) are, in their day-to-day lives, suffering from the imposition of the Islamic hijab.

Since the existence of the Islamic regime, not a day has passed without attack, physical assault, arrest, acid throwing, harassment and psychological pressure of women in Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran has clearly specified that, for women, no other sort of dress is acceptable except the Islamic hijab.

The sickening growth of violence against women in Iran has drastically limited the conditions of work, education, art, sport, entertainment and general freedom of social life for women. The reason why Islam lays great emphasis on hijab is to avoid unnecessary contacts between a Muslim woman with a “non-Mahram” (out of family circle) or “Khalwah”, being alone with him. As I described in a previous article “Non-Mahram”, the dogma of “non-Mahram” is the pivotal point of Islamic hijab.

Though the law claims that women and men have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities in all aspects of life, a gap still remains between laws and the reality of women's rights.  Many issues from the religious influences, especially in the Islamic societies, have not been resolved.

Over the years, conferences, demonstrations and commemorations have been held to reflect on progress made.  It is now time to call for what has not been made. International Women's Day should be an occasion to a rallying point for effective efforts against Islamomisogyny, which looms to damage the achievements gained in the history of women's rights.

Although the Charter of the United Nations proposes gender equality as a fundamental human right, the Organisation cannot create standards, programmes and goals to equally advance the status of women worldwide.  For example the UN avoids condemning the forced Hijab, the most symbolic yoke of misogyny, by the Islamic regimes in their countries.

Of course the Charter of the UN, signed in 1945, was the first agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men.  However, the Charter was prepared before the advent of the international political Islam. Today, the international community demands the UN to adopt new resolutions defending the status of women in the Islamic societies. Women in the Islamic societies need international support. The UN, in accordance with theconclusive account of many misogynous reports, must now effectively react.

The UN, which fairly condemned the Apartheid regime before, isnow expected to condemn the gender apartheid of Islamic regimes by supporting for women’s full and equal right. It is time to internationally challenge the misogynous Islamists across the world.

Violation of basic rights of women in the Islamic world is an issue that has been long overdue but ignored.  Safeguarding of the women’s rights is now essential to regaining the sense of the International Women’s Day.

Many daily misogynous examples in Iran show that the IRI by imposing different status for men and women reduced the women’s role to a means of reproduction. So under such Islamic interpretations, women’s participations in social, cultural and many other domains are suppressed. The IRI has even demagogically managed that Islamic women’s organisations mushroomed up in the society. Their real role is to institutionalise IRI’s Islamomisogyny through the tortured sense and origin of women’s rights. Iranian women’s participations in diverse non-government activities have implicit roots in their protest against Islamomisogyny.

The international community must take specific, targeted actions for gender equality by particularly rejecting the Islamic regimes as the active and official bearers of the present misogyny in the world.  In the 21st. century, the world cannot accept that Women’s rights should be conditioned by religions. It is time to stop considering women as half-human with half-right!

Promotion of gender equality is not only women’s responsibility, but a social responsibility of all democrat people. It is not only an important participation and an indicator of social and economic national growth, but more effectively and based on some psychological theses can also result in a factor of normal development for all individuals. Gender separation creates frustrations, perversities and aggressiveness with blind obedience, which is the characteristics, appeared in the oppressed societies.

On this International Women’s Day, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the hundreds of millions of women who are conscious or unconscious victims of Islamomisogyny. Much should be accomplished to put into place legal foundations to urge the international community to remember that it is the responsibility of all of us to defend the right to live in dignity, freedom and gender equality.

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