Iran is a country in which women’s rights are severely restricted. Women continue to face numerous challenges and obstacles, and despite the advances made in recent years, women in Iran are still struggling to achieve equality and basic rights. The following statistical information highlights the current situation of women in Iran, which is alarming.
In the reporting period (March 2022 – March 2023), 327 women were arrested for reasons directly related to the suppression of women’s rights. These arrests indicate that the government is cracking down on women’s rights activists and those advocating for gender equality. The arrests serve as a warning to others who may wish to speak out against the oppression of women.
During the protests from Sep 2022 to Mar 2023, at least 3,953 women were arrested, of which 1,019 were identified by Hrana,160 of them were female university students. It is estimated that at least 66 women were killed in Iran during the protests. These numbers show that women are not only being targeted for their activism, but also for their participation in peaceful protests. The arbitrary arrests and detentions of women demonstrate that the government is willing to use excessive force to silence dissent.
In the same period, at least 2,003 women were reprimanded in different ways, including being summoned to police authorities, due to the improper wearing of the hijab. The mandatory hijab law in Iran is a clear violation of women’s rights and freedom of expression. The fact that women are being punished for not adhering to the hijab law indicates that the government is imposing its religious beliefs on its citizens.
At least 15 women and 7 men were killed for “honor” reasons. “Honor” killings are a brutal practice in which women are murdered by their family members for bringing “dishonor” to their family. This practice is not only a violation of women’s rights, but the practice also serves as a grave violation of human rights and the right to life.
In this period, at least 14 female death-row inmates were executed in different prisons and two women received the death penalty.
In the reporting period, 92 cases of closure of guilds and organizations have been reported due to non-observance of hijab by the owner or staff. In this case, 62 reports of discrimination in social environments were reported due to women’s gender. The closure of businesses and organizations due to non-observance of hijab laws is not only discriminatory but also negatively impacts the economic opportunities available to women.
In the same period, 38 cases involving the murder of women and 14 cases of a severe beating, which were rooted in domestic violence, were reported. Domestic violence against women is a pervasive issue in Iran, and it is often considered a private matter. The lack of laws to protect women from domestic violence means that women are vulnerable to abuse and violence from their partners or family members.
At least 12 cases of suicide, 4 of which were self-immolation, were reported due to the lack of guaranteeing equal laws by the government. Things like the difficulty of divorce by women or loss of custody of children were among these reasons. The lack of legal protections for women in Iran makes it difficult for them to escape abusive situations, and the consequences can be fatal.
During the time period covered by this report, poisonous substances were used in organized attacks on schools, which primarily targeted girls’ schools. Since the beginning of December 2022, at least 290 attacks on schools affecting at least 7,060 students have been reported. This number of affected students is exclusive to the 103 schools that have reported data in this regard.
These attacks have been documented in at least 99 cities across 28 provinces. The day with the highest number of recorded attacks was March 3, with 81 attacks.
At the forefront of these attacks are the provinces of Tehran with 33 cases, Qom with 28 cases, Ardabil with 26 cases, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province with 21 cases, and Khuzestan province with 20 cases. As of the time this report was compiled, below is a map depicting the distribution of these attacks.
In conclusion, the situation of women in Iran is dire. It is of note that this report serves as a mere glimpse into the dire situation of women in Iran. Several factors prevent documentation groups from analyzing the full scope of violations committed against women in Iranian society. Urgent action is required to address the issues faced by women in Iran on a daily basis rooted solely in gender-based discrimination codified in both law and practice. The government must take concrete steps to protect women’s rights, end discriminatory laws and practices, and ensure that perpetrators of violence against women are brought to justice. On this International Women’s Day, we must continue to raise awareness of the struggles faced by women in Iran and advocate for their rights and equality.