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Home » Gender Relations » Relationships, Iranian Experience, a Brief History
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Women's Movements in Iran, 1850 21st Century
A Brief History
Last Updated: October, 2009

Ahmadinejad and Women’s Issues

The election of the fundamentalist hardliner, President Ahmadinejad in 2005 created fear that the women’s situation may become worst. Street arrests did increase periodically during Mr. Ahmadinejad’s first term, so did abuse of females in detention and raping of victims at prisons. His government tried to pass a bill in the parliament that would allow men to practice polygamy without their wife’s permission. The bill was received with such hostility by women’s groups that they had to withdraw. Pressure on activists has increased as well. In 2005 a group of activists in Iran formed the “campaign for a million signature” to protest against the archaic family and legal codes in Iran and discrimination against women. While their activities are restricted in Iran and several members have been jailed, the campaign is received well globally. The celebration of the international women’s day in Tehran in March 2006 was received with hostility and peaceful marchers were scattered and some were beaten up. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government has reduced the number of hours women work in the government sector and changed the name of the women’s center known as “Women’s Participation” to that of “Center for Women and Family Affairs” emphasizing women’s primary role in the family.

An interesting event during the election campaigns of the June 2009 was the public appearance of Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard, wife of the reformist candidate Mr. Mousavi alongside her husband. She campaigned on behalf of her husband and the couple appeared in public holding hands. The move was received jubilantly by thousands of women. This made it probable that Iranians can expect to see a first couple instead of just the president. Following the dramatic events after the disputes of the June 2009 election and reports of brutal assault and raping of female (and male) captives in jails, Mr. Ahmadinejad chose three women for his cabinet as ministers. Only one was approved, Mrs. Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, a hardliner believing in segregation policies was chosen Minister of Medicine and Hygiene in August 2009. She is the first woman minister in the Islamic Republic.


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Recommended Readings

    Women in Iran from 1800 to the Islamic Republic
    Lois Beck and Guity Nashat (Paperback  - Sep 27, 2004)

    Reconstructed Lives : Women and Iran's Islamic Revolution
    Haleh Esfandiari (Paperback  - Jun 1, 1997)

    Women in Iran: Gender Politics in the Islamic Republic
    Hammed Shahidian (Hardcover  - Aug 30, 2002)

    Populism and Feminism in Iran : Women's Struggle in a Male-Defined Revolutionary Movement
    (Women's Studies at York Series). Haideh Moghissi (Paperback  - Feb 15, 1997)

    Women of Iran : The Conflict with Fundamentalist Islam
    Farah Azari (Paperback  - Jun 1984)

    Voices from Iran: The Changing Lives of Iranian Women (Gender, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East)
    Mahnaz Kousha (Paperback  - Nov 2002)

    The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911
    Janet Afary (Paperback  - April 15, 1996)

    From darkness into light: Women's emancipation in Iran
    An Exposition-university book,1977.  Badr al-Muluk Bamdad

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