Iran: Women successfully lobby government to reform family law
On Sunday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice announced they have amended the law, removing articles 23 and 25, the most contentious among women’s rights activists. The revised law will be sent to the Parliament for vote after Ramadan.
Article 23, one of the most criticized articles in the bill, would make polygamy easier for Iranian men. Currently, an Iranian man needs to obtain the permission of his first wife in order to marry a second. These safeguards would be effectively removed for women in the proposed legislation.
Article 25 would have taxed women’s mehr, a monetary sum given by the groom to the bride, which is often considered a protection for women against arbitrary divorce by their husbands.
Women from various backgrounds, religious and secular, had come together to mobilize against the new family law, initiating a public debate via online journals such as www.meydaan.org, running a postcard campaign, and encouraging ordinary women from across the country to phone their representative and register their protest against the proposed legislation.
Nevertheless, WLUML is still not satisfied with amended legislation, even without Articles 23 and 25. The bill, which is presented by the government as family law “reform”, does not in fact provide more gender equality according to activists.
WLUML calls upon the Iranian authorities to work directly with women’s rights advocates to pass true family law reform, one that wholly prohibits discrimination against women in all its forms. We urge the Iranian legal and judicial systems to ensure Iranian women enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as men during marriage and at its dissolution, including matters related to inheritance, custody and guardianship of children, and blood price.
Furthermore, we call upon Iranian officials to unequivocally ban polygamy under the law.
Source: WLUML Networkers
10 September 2008
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