Women in iran and the middle east 6 february 2013


Published on

Pari Namazie, PhD is a Human Resource Consultant and Trainer. In 2012 she made a presentation to the WiN-IAEA group at the United Nations in Vienna and in February 2013 she came to WFWP-Austria to speak about Women in Post Revolutionary Iran. With kind permission, here is her presentation. Thank you Pari.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Women in iran and the middle east 6 february 2013

  1. 1. Women in Iran and the Middle EastPresented by Pari Namazie, PhDfor Österreichische Frauenföderation für Weltfrieden6 February 2013 Artist: Mr. Rezvan Sadeghzadeh
  2. 2. Through my eyes… A personal storyWhere I come from, what shaped and influenced me, experiencing Iran and the Islamic revolution Artisit: Ms. Elaheh Heydari
  3. 3. Misperceptions and Realities Artists: Left: Mr. Amir Rad, Right: Mr. Bijan Jalali
  4. 4. Misperceptions and Realities Gender equality may be lacking in the Middle East, however it is not only peculiar to Islam or the Middle East. The status of women varies widely throughout the Middle East, Tunisia being one of the most progressive countries and Saudia Arabia being one of the least. Important not to put all the countries in the Middle East together. Although religion bears much responsibility for the inferior status of women, it can not be solely blamed. Culture has been even more prominent. Even though women are seen to be inferior, women have enjoyed political and social rights in many Muslim countries; women leaders have led Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey, women ministers were appointed in Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia. Pari Namazie 4
  5. 5. Contd. Literacy and education among women is increasing in the Middle East and the gap is closing between literacy of men and women. Traditional Islamic law (set up in the 7th century Arabia) originally advanced women’s rights vis-à-vis the existing norms of the time. Those countries which were least dependent on the Muslim clergy are the ones which made the most progress in law reform (eg. Turkey in the 1920s, Tunisia in the 1950s and Iran in the 1960s. Some Middle Eastern countries governments had to reach compromise in their attempts to improve women’s status and were assisted by liberal Muslim intellectuals who interpreted Islamic law to accommodate the changing circumstances of modern societies. Pari Namazie 5
  6. 6. Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran During the revolution, women fought alongside men as equals, fighting not for equal rights but for the universal values of freedom and independence (in previous ages in wars fought in the Middle East, in the Arab Spring). In Iran, indeed after the Islamic revolution, women believed their rights would have been equal to that of men, but there were changes we did not bargain for. A number of these were: • Compulsory veiling which gradually came into force, • Early work force retirement for women, preference for women to stay at home, • 1967 Family Protection law was abolished (divorce, polygamy – not practiced), • Birth control policies were abolished (later re-instated when in 80s our birth rate reached 3.5%), • Age of marriage was reduced (from 18 to 13), • Women were not allowed in public office, not allowed to be judges (slightly changed now), • Segregation of schools, public transport, sports… Pari Namazie 6
  7. 7. On the bright side… Artist: Mr. Ahmad Morshedloo
  8. 8. On the bright side Hejab allowed women safe entrance into society, education, employment, Segregation of school allowed girls to focus more on studies, Now over 60% of university entrants are girls, over 30% active participation in workforce are women (this trend is seen in other Middle Eastern countries), in time we will have more educated women in Iran than men, Women are seen and heard in all spheres, Women’s education has pushed for modernity, challenging paternalistic and traditional structures. Pari Namazie 8
  9. 9. Trends in Iran –Where are we heading? Artist: Mr. Nazar Mousavinia
  10. 10. Socio Economic Trends in IranResults of the latest nation-wide Census (October 2011) show a socio-economic transformation in the past two decades: Population growth is now 1.29%, down from 3.2% in 1980s. Despite a much higher population (over 75 million), the number of new- born children in the decade from 2001 and 2010 is only half of the number in the decade 1981 to 1990. Average age of marriage has increased: for women, it is now 24 years (it was 19.5 in 1976) and for men it is 27 years. Family size is shrinking; An average Iranian family consisted of more than 5 members in 1976, but has less than 2 children today (average of 3.6 persons in one family). Iran is now a solidly urban society (70% urbanization compared to 45% in 1976). Pari Namazie 10
  11. 11. Contd. 33% of the women in the age group between 20 and 34 years and 50% of the men in the same age group are unmarried and living single. The mother/ woman of 12.1% of all families in the country is the main breadwinner of the family. This number has gone up from 9.5% and has increased by 900,000 families in the last decade. There is an alarming trend in divorce. Nationwide, one out of seven marriages end up in divorce, mainly in large cities, Tehran especially. Pari Namazie 11
  12. 12. Impact on Iran There is no doubt that the socio-economic developments of the past decade will have an impact on the future value system in the Iranian society. The average Iranian is moving away from the traditional Islamic values. The prevalence of families headed by women, the increase in the number of divorce cases, the decision by young Iranians not to get married and to live single as well as the increasing age of marriage all clash with traditional Islamic beliefs. Reactions by the government: education: barring women from certain subjects at university, abolishing birth control policies,… Pari Namazie 12
  13. 13. Contd.Experts agree that there are three distinct components causing thistransformation, i.e.: Urbanization and globalization and the emergence of international (mainly western) norms as behavior patterns; Economic and socio-economic realities in the country, i.e. the fact that a young couple have to both work to make ends meet as well as the negative outlook of the Iranian society’s future; and Disenchantment with Islamic values that have been imposed on the Iranian society. Also important to note the changing role of the mother/ woman in Iranian society; who does not want to be subordinated by men (fathers or husbands) this will have an impact on generations to come. Pari Namazie 13
  14. 14. To end Countries experiencing the Arab Awakening should learn from the Iranian case and be careful what they adopt for their women, The trend in the Middle East is towards modernity and urbanization, there is also an additional trend towards Islamisation mainly as we feel pressured by the West, One of the most important developments in the Islamic world is the increase of educated women; Educated mothers bring up educated children and the more the mental frames change, the roles of women will also change; Iran is an example of how modernizing forces confront traditional and male-dominated power structures – it is a push-pull situation between these forces, but the overall trend is towards equality in many aspects. Pari Namazie 14
  15. 15. To leave you withSamira Makhmalbaf, a young Iranian filmdirector on presenting her film the Apple (a truestory about two young girls who were locked intheir home for 11 years) at the Cannes FilmFestival, she was the youngest Director everaged 18:On being asked what kind of a society locks upits young daughters for 11 years?Her response: The same society which allows a 17 year old girl to make a movie. Pari Namazie 15
  16. 16. Pari Saberi renowned Iranian theater director: “The men might try to the boss in public, but theyknow that it’s the women who are the boss at home!” Pari Namazie 16
  17. 17. Sportswomen
  18. 18. Skiing in Iran
  19. 19. Shirin Ebadi – Iranian Human Rights Lawyer andNobel Peace Prize Laureate
  20. 20. Nomadic Tribes
  21. 21. In the words of our Rumi: A traveler is not he who tires easily and fast A traveler is he who walks slowly and consistently Thank you! If you have any questions, contact me on pari@namazie.comArtist: Mr. Amir Hossein Akhavan