UN: Iran discriminates against women

morality police iran
The 2015 report on Iran’s human rights record by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finds that the government commits gross and systematic discrimination against women.
Among the findings:

  • “According to the Global Gender Gap Index for 2014 of the World Economic Forum, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked no. 137 out of 142 countries.”
  • “women only account for 16 per cent of the labour force”
  • “men earn 4.8 times more than women”
  • “With regard to women in ministerial positions, the Index ranked the Islamic Republic of Iran no. 105 out of 142 countries, and there are few women in managerial or decision-making roles – despite the emphasis that article 3 of the Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in the Islamic Republic of Iran places on the right of women to equal wages, privileges and work conditions.”

iran police modesty

  • “The draft comprehensive population and family excellence plan, reportedly currently being considered by parliament, would further restrict the participation of women in the labour force.”
  • Preference for employment opportunities would be given, in order, to men with children, men without children, then lastly to women with children. Furthermore, teaching positions in higher education and research institutions would be reserved for qualified married applicants (A/69/356, para. 70).

Iran police women

  • “According to article 1117 of the Civil Code, a husband may prevent his wife from occupations or technical work deemed incompatible with family interests or his own dignity or that of his wife. The law may even prevent women from pursuing artistic activities.”
  • “For instance, on 30 September 2014, the Head of the Family of Martyrs and Veterans Association filed a suit against the Minister for Cultural Affairs for allowing women to sing solo in concerts. 25. The Secretary-General welcomes the efforts made by the Islamic Republic of Iran to combat violence against women, which is critical to their ability to participate in civil, political, economic, development, educational, social and cultural life.”
  • “The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran found that 66 per cent of women had reportedly experienced domestic violence” (A/69/356, para. 18).
  • “child marriage remains prevalent in the country.”
  • The legal age of marriage for girls is only 13, and some as young as 9 years of age may be married with the permission of the court. In 2011, about 48,580 girls between the age of 10 and 14 were married; and in 2012, there were at least 1,537 girls under the age of 10 who were reportedly married (A/69/356, para. 40). 27.
  • “Child marriage is a violation of human rights that put women and girls at risk of physical, psychological, economic and sexual violence and can lead to a range of poor health and social outcomes and other negative consequences, including early pregnancy and high rates of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.”
  • The lack of legal protection and safe houses for women to seek refuge forces them to live in situations of abuse, which may lead them to commit acts of violence.
  • “laws continue to allow for marital or spousal rape and discriminate between men and women with regard to the spouse’s ability to initiate and complete divorce. A woman is required to prove that a significant threat has been made to her life in order to be able to file for divorce (A/60/356, para. 19). Such laws make it difficult for women to escape domestic violence and to protect themselves from any real and immediate risk to life or integrity.”
  • “Nationality laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran do not grant women equal rights when transferring their nationality to their children.”
  • “Women in the Islamic Republic of Iran are required to observe Islamic dress code in public places.”


  • The parliament reportedly recently approved a plan “on the protection of promoters of virtue and preventers of vice”, which would increase checks on improper veiling.
  • “The morality police strictly monitor all public places, including vehicles, and take action against those who do not adhere to the morality codes. Women who appear without an Islamic hijab risk arrest and imprisonment of between 10 days and two months, or a fine of up to 500,000 rials.”
  • “Approximately 30,000 women were reportedly arrested between 2003 and 2013, with many others subjected to expulsion from university or banned from entering public spaces, such as parks, cinemas, sport facilities, airports and beaches.”
  • “The acid attacks in October 2014 against six women for allegedly wearing improper hijab in Isfahan, Kermanshah and Tehran highlights the risks to health and safety run by women. The incidents drew considerable attention both domestically and internationally, with concerns being were expressed that the attacks might be linked to the approval of the plan on the protection of promoters of virtue and preventers of vice.”
  • “On 22 October, security forces reportedly attacked with batons protestors who had gathered in front of the parliament to denounce the acid attacks. Journalists and activists were detained, including members of the Iran Student News Agency, who were reportedly interviewing victims and photographing the protest.”
  • “The Secretary-General urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to review critically the plan on the protection of promoters of virtue and preventers of vice, which may allow individuals to target women who are dressed in a manner deemed unconventional.”


UN Watch