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The Islamic Iran: A Precise Interpretation, Application of Quran Teachings on Gender Equality

The Islamic Iran: A Precise Interpretation, Application of Quran Teachings on Gender Equality
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By Zeinab Abdallah

The Islamic Republic of Iran, formerly led by late Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, and now under the leadership of His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, has unfairly been subjected to a western-led propagandist scheme to portray it as a grave for women and their rights.

Little do know, however, that the Iranian women indeed have plentiful rights, that on many levels, beat those men enjoy all over the Iranian soil.

As per the many teachings of the Holy Quran, the Muslims’ guide and their sacred book for instructions in every aspect of living and transactions, Iran as an Islamic Republic is the leading example of interpreting those guidelines accurately, and applying them in the manner that honors women and preserves all their rights. 

One of the many verses in the holy book that support both genders’ equality is the 195th in the surah of Al Imran, which reads: {So, their Lord responded to them: “I will never deny any of you—male or female—the reward of your deeds. Both are equal in reward…}. Another verse, although highlighting the equal rights of both genders, lays an added responsibility for men to shoulder. The verse says: {…Women have rights similar to those of men equitably, although men have a degree [of responsibility] above them…} Al-Baqarah 228.

Likewise, Imam Khamenei, ever since assuming office as Leader of the Islamic Revolution more than three decades ago, has not been only laying emphasis on the importance of educating the women of Iran, but also exposing the western scheme targeting them.

In a speech addressing a group of women from the 3000-years-old city of Orumiyeh on September 18, 1996, Imam Khamenei advised the families to allow their daughters to pursue their educations.

“The families should not think, over religious fanaticism, that they should prevent their daughters from pursuing their higher education. No! Islam does not prescribe such a thing. Islam does not discriminate between girls and boys in acquiring knowledge. Just as your sons pursue their educations at higher levels, you should allow your daughters to pursue their education at higher levels too. Let our young girls study and acquire knowledge and awareness. Let them recognize their status and appreciate their self-esteem, so that they will realize how baseless and empty are the imperialists’ propaganda about women. Under the aegis of education, these facts can be realized. Girls should be educated even in the villages. I advise parents to allow their daughters to go to school to receive education. If they are talented and interested in pursuing their education after primary schools, and if they wish to go to universities, do not prevent them. Allow them to be among the well-educated members of our Islamic society.”

Back since those old days and up until now, the rhetoric didn’t change. Focusing on the empowerment of women as an integral part of the Islamic community has been conveyed in every aspect of the Iranian society. Iranian women have proudly reached posts that women in other spots in the world still dream of. There are female scientists, diplomats, politicians, spokespeople, sportspeople, police, army, and volunteer forces members.

Talking numbers:

Only within the Basij [mobilization force], there are some 10 million female members out of Iran’s 85.03 million population. 75% of university students are females. Additionally, women in Iran hold 25.2 % of all government positions at all levels, including the highest, middle, and basic executive positions. There are more than 1000 women working as judges in the country as well. 

Besides their high-ranking positions in the decision-making domain, women in Iran have been leading in the fields of health, education, environment, entrepreneurship, media, and sports.

Iranian women are in charge of 40% of top executive positions in the Environment Organization. Over 2390 women serve on the boards of directors of knowledge-based companies. They have won 3302 medals at recent international sporting events, and female athletes possess Olympic and Paralympic quota places. Female directors and actresses are jury presidents at 45 international film festivals. Moreover, women's participation in information technology has increased by 31.5% over the past year.

All attempts to distort the image of the Islamic Republic, either by campaigning against the Hijab, which is the normal aspect that preserves the womanly identity under the law of Islam, or by faking accusations that only serve this western propaganda, represent a small fraction of the entire Iranian society, which the leadership also respects. However, facts on ground remain clear. The biggest share of Iranians respects its country’s rules, which has been Islamic for several decades, it is nothing new. The leadership, in turn, is wiser and more pious than some are trying to portray. 

{…All honors and power belong to Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, yet the hypocrites do not know.} – Holy Quran | Al-Munafiqun ~ 8

The Islamic Iran: A Precise Interpretation, Application of Quran Teachings on Gender Equality