Iranian Parliament Rejects Women’s Rights Reforms

Iran’s new parliament, elected last February, is working to place more restrictions on women rather than expand reforms carried out under President Mohammad Khatami. According to the New York Times, the 290-member Parliament, that includes only twelve women, rejected calls made by previous reformers in the Parliament to expand inheritance rights for women and for Iran to adopt the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In addition, the Parliament rejected earlier efforts to include gender equality as goal for the next four years, reports the New York Times.

The new parliament is instead imposing more restrictions on women including segregating men and women at universities. However, a leading political scientist in Iran asserted that “the general trend in this country is moving towards reforms. These restrictions are like putting a little stone in front of a huge storm that is going for reform.”

Previously, women in Iran’s Parliament were known to fight for women’s rights reforms, however, according to the New York Times most of the current women in Parliament are from a hard-line conservative camp called the Zeinab Society.

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New York Times 9/16/04; BBC News 5/10/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 5/20/04

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