Iranian Women Win Better Child Custody Rights

Iranian women won better child custody rights earlier this week. Divorced mothers won the right to custody of their sons up to the age of seven. Divorced mothers now have the same right over their sons as they do over their daughters. Before this change in law, divorced women had automatic custody of girls until the age of seven, but were only allowed to keep boys until the age of two, reports Reuters.

According to IRIB News, the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize Shirin Ebadi stated, “This reform of the law is the result of 20 years of resistance of the Iranian women. I congratulate Iranians, especially women, on this victory.” Iran’s conservative Guardian council had rejected the change twice on grounds that it was un-Islamic. However, the reformist-led Parliament has been pushing forward several bills to improve women’s rights in Iran.

Women in Iran are still unable to work or travel without a husband’s permission, and their testimony in court is only worth half of a man’s. Some laws, though not often enforced, are still on the books; for example, a woman in Iran is not permitted in public with a man who is not related to her. In addition, despite some social and political progress toward a better status for women, Iran is still among the countries, including the United States, that have not ratified the UN International Women’s Treaty (CEDAW), adopted by the UN in 1979.

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Reuters 12/02/03; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) 12/02/03; Feminist News Wire

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