Over the past few days nearly 6,000 people have signed a campaign calling on the speaker and members of Parliament to remove barriers surrounding the issuance of motorcycle licenses to Iranian women.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Asr-e-Iran, citizens wrote in the statement, “We, the women of this land, demand one of our most basic citizenship rights: the use of vehicles such as motorcycles.”
In light of the staggering increase in car prices in recent years and the inability of many women to afford them, the petition calls on lawmakers to take appropriate action as soon as possible to oversee the proper implementation of anti-discriminatory laws and regulations.
Years ago, Branch 31 of the Administrative Court of Justice passed a ruling that obligated the NAJA traffic police to “issue motorcycle licenses for qualified women”, but police appealed the vote on the grounds that, according to Article 20 of the Traffic Violations Law, driver’s license issuance falls under their jurisdiction. In this law, the qualifications for obtaining a license are explained in detail, but there is no mention of gender. So while there is no explicit legal discrimination on the basis of sex, the very police forces tasked with enforcing the process have a pattern of making it very difficult for women to receive their certification.
The day after a photo of the women riding a motorcycle in Tabriz was published, Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, put it plainly on her Instagram: “[The motorcycle] is a good vehicle for women as long as safety instructions are followed.”
Unlike driving, motorcycle riding is considered by some conservative Muslims to violate principles of female modesty. The campaign attempts to debunk the notion that Islamic practices are necessarily at odds with women utilizing this convenient and affordable mode of transportation. The signatories wrote in a statement addressed to the speaker of the Parliament, “In the history of Islam, many chaste women were involved in equestrianism and there was no jurisprudential denial based on this practice.”
It is worth mentioning that this campaign is currently collecting signatures at the site linked below: (https://www.karzar.net/motorcycle-license).