Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rare Victory for Women's Rights in Iran

On September 9, 2008, the Iranian Parliament voted down a polygamy law that was ironically proposed to the “Family Support Bill” under Article 23. The law would have allowed a man to take a new wife without the consent of the first, as is currently required. The law was opposed by leading women’s activists, including Iranian race car drive Laleh Seddigh, women’s rights campaigner Sassan Tahmasebi and Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, among others. According to The National Newspaper, “Dozens of women’s rights campaigners protested against the polygamy article outside the Iranian parliament” in August.

Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, who maintains that under Islam, women have equal rights to men, also voiced opposition to the law. He said that a second wife without the permission of the first would be a holy offence under the Quran. Ali Larijani, speaker of the Parliament, also expressed reservation to the measure.

The victory is no small feat given the increasing threats against and arrests of women’s right activists in the last couple of years.

No comments: