Women killed by the Iranian Regime’s suppressive forces during the 2019 anti-regime protests. During the major uprisings in Iran since 2018, women played a leading role.
Protests across Iran by people from all walks of life hint at citizens’ deplorable predicament and society’s explosive state. Yet, among all sectors of society, Iranian women suffer the most. Days before International Women’s Day let us glance at their heart-wrenching plight.
Iranian female labor force suffers from harsh working conditions and little to no support. Many of these women are heads of households, and most earn their living in a male-dominated workplace. The situation has reached a point that even Iran’s state media are forced to acknowledge a part of this crisis.
“Our story is about women. They begin their day by cleaning houses while they feel the pain of the absence of any support by the Social Security Organization or any hope for having a pension,” the state-run Resalat daily wrote about the situation of Iranian women who clean houses to earn a meager living on January 11.
“Lack of legal protections and the anxiety of losing a job and low income make women who are heads of households and work to do cleaning, cooking, caring for the elderly and children feel strangely helpless. From their point of view, it is not only class discrimination that is disturbing but also the institutionalized inequality in everyday work that is very painful and sad,” Resalat daily wrote.
“According to official reports, the number of female-headed households was more than three million,” the state-run Donya-e Eghtesad daily wrote on May 21, 2021, adding that the number of female-headed households had “increased by about 26.8 percent between 2011 and 2019.”
While affirming this number, Resalat daily adds that “in an unfair situation, women have a larger share of service-providing jobs than men. Among the various groups of informal works, house cleaning is a very low-income occupation and is usually given to women with the lowest wages and benefits.”
Resalat adds that many women working in houses and factories are abused. “We are forced to obey the employer; even when he beats us. I pay 8,000,000 rials for a 40-meter house. What else could I do? If I disobey my employer, how could I earn a living?” Golandam, a 28-years-old woman who has two children, tells Resalat.
In November 2021, Marzieh Taherian, a female textile worker, died while working. The 21-years-old ‘s head was pulled by a spinning machine as she was working at night shift to earn a meager living. Marzieh’s tragic death was an example of the Iranian women’s harsh working conditions.
According to the ILNA News Agency, on November 11, regime officials “promised to meticulously investigate” this tragic incident, but Marzieh’s case is just a tip of an iceberg.
“According to statistics from the Social Security Organization, Last year, 42,898 workers had accidents, including 1,593 women,” ILNA added.
Besides having harsh working conditions, Iranian women are subject to rather “organized violence.”
Violence against women in Iran is not opaque. It has been weeks since Iranians were shocked to see a man triumphantly holding the severed head of his 17-years-old wife, whom he had shamelessly and ruthlessly killed in a so-called “honor killing” in southwest Iran.
Mona Heydari’s decapitation was a raw medieval-style killing, a barbaric and primitive method of “punishing” a woman whose only crime was seeking refuge from her abusive husband. Iran’s state media reported his arrest, but many of them despicably tried to blame Mona and portrayed her husband, a homicidal maniac, as a man of honor! What else could be expected from media outlets of a misogynous regime?
“At least 1,200 Iranian women have been murdered in the last 20 years in the so-called honor killings. This is the statistic we have gathered, and the official rate of honor killings is not announced in Iran,” Parvin Khan Zabihi, a women’s rights activist, told the state-run Sharq daily in October 2021.
The Iranian regime started oppressing women shortly after the 1979 revolution by imposing compulsory veiling or “hijab.” The mandatory veiling was the regime’s first step to humiliate Iranian women. Iran’s constitution considers motherhood and childbearing as the women’s sole reason for existence.
The regime’s constitution allows polygamy for men. According to Article 942 of the Iranian Civil Code, men can have multiple permanent and temporary wives. This medieval constitution also allows child marriage, allowing parents to give their daughters, as young as nine, to older men.
“Article 1041 – Note: Marriage before puberty is appropriate if permitted by the guardian provided that the interests of the girl under custody are considered,” the constitution reads.
According to Articles 1122 through 1130, men can divorce their wives for many reasons, including various illnesses or blindness in both eyes even though these issues were pre-existing before the marriage. In contrast, under the civil law of the regime, women are faced with complex and taunting terms when applying for a divorce.
Under Article 1169 of the Civil Code, custody of children older than seven years is with the father when the couple is separated. Moreover, based on articles 861 – 949 of the Civil Code on inheritance, the wife and daughter’s share of inheritance is half that of the husband and son.
According to article 907 of the Civil Code – in the event of multiple children where some are boys, and some are girls, the boys will inherit twice as much as the girls.
In other words, the Iranian regime’s constitution promotes inequality and misogyny. No wonder Mona’s abusive husband was dubbed an “honorable man!”
Iranian Women’s Response
While Iran’s ruling theocracy promotes misogyny and tries to enslave women, women have proven to be the trailblazers of the fight against the regime. Since the 1980s, the women in the Iranian Resistance have been at the forefront of the struggle against religious fascism in Iran. Thousands of Iranian women have sacrificed their lives while advocating democracy and equality. During the major uprisings in Iran since 2018, women played a leading role. In other words, the regime has failed in its goal to shackle the restless spirit of the Iranian women. Nowhere is this more evident than in the participation of women in the ranks of the Resistance Units in Iran, who are acting as sledgehammers that will break the wall of repression and pave the way for a nationwide uprising that will topple the mullahs’ regime.