Challenges of Iranian Women to Change the Gender Discriminatory Law

Challenges of Iranian Women to Change the Gender Discriminatory Law

Fariba Parsa (George Mason University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch077
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This chapter tells a story of the work of Iranian women activists to change gender discriminatory laws. Iranian women created coalitions and mobilized thousands of women in a campaign called “One Million Signatures Campaign for Gender Equality”. Hundreds of women prisoned without being successful to change any law. This chapter seeks to explain the challenges for women and argue the lack of the clarity of their goal was one of the reason for not achieving any results. Iranian women activists were not certain how they should handle the religious law and principles that confront their vision for gender equality based on The UN conventions on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
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How Did The One Million Signature Campaign For Gender Equality Begin?

On June 12, 2005, several women’s NGOs staged a 6,000-woman sit-in in front of the University of Tehran, circulating a written declaration calling for the revision of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This action was supported by both religious and secular women’s groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)1; by Iranian poet Simin Behbahani, Nobel Prize winner and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Islamic Students’ Association, and by individuals all over the world participating through social media. This peaceful action was met by a blockade by the police (Shekarloo 2005 in Sameh, Catherine: 2010, p.447).

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