When I was a child I thought that men and women were always equal but as I grew up, I found that the world was a very different place than I though. The world was changing and will forever be. I did not know at my young age that Iran, a theocratic republic, existed. Now, I see what is being done to the women of this country is inhumane and belittling. I believe in the freedom of Iranian women.
I know that women like me are not living fulfilling lives. They sit alone in a house full of children that belong to her and her husband’s other wives. He is allowed to have four wives while she may marry one man. Her husband can have unlimited temporary marriages to prostitutes. She must remain faithful to him for the rest of her life. Laws prevent her from marrying more men just as they have allowed her husband to marry three other women. According to the US Department of State, a women may not at any time marry without consent; she therefore must get the “consent of her father or grandfather to wed or the court’s permission even if she is older than 18.” Men on the other hand may marry any one they choose after age 15 without consent of any elder of the family.
Traditional Iranian families still practice arranged marriages, again limiting the freedom of its women to marry whom they choose and when they choose. Marriage is a contract between a man and a woman, the government and Allah. Women have very few freedoms in this area of their own lives. As lonely and unhappy that she may be with her husband, it is hard to divorce for sake of mere unhappiness. A woman may divorce if her husband is a drug addict, if he cannot provide for his family, he is mentally insane, or if he is impotent (US Department of State). The Iranian courts only will allow a divorce other wise if it has already been written out in the marriage contract. If a couple divorces and the mother remarries, children over the age of seven will be in full custody of their father rather than the mother. If they are under that age, they will remain with their mothers until they come of age. But things can be done. Laws need to be changed so that women may divorce as freely and men. Women have the right to live and love just one man and to be loved by just him. Men should not be allowed to freely control women’s married life.
Iran is stuck in the past. The world ignores matters that deal with women’s equality. I write this because very few American citizens know anything about Iran let alone its stance on women’s rights. I write for people to know. I write so that one day these women will be free.