NCRI WOMEN'S COMMITTEE

Works extensively with Iranian women outside the country and maintains a permanent contact with women inside Iran. The Women’s Committee is actively involved with many women's rights organizations and NGO's and the Iranian diaspora. The committee is a major source of much of the information received from inside Iran with regards to women. Attending UN Human Rights Commission meetings and other international or regional conferences on women’s issues, and engaging in a relentless battle against the Iranian regime's misogyny are part of the activities of members and associates of the committee.

Iranian Regime's Misogynist Laws

Women in the ranks of the Iranian Resistance have challenged the mullahs' misogynous regime. Not only do they enjoy absolutely equal rights in the Resistance, but have also overturned the male-dominated value system by taking on key positions of leadership and management.

The elimination of all avenues of political activity presented men and women with a daunting task. For women, however, this was a far more formidable test. The difficult circumstances, the traditional environment in society and the mullahs' vehement and misogynous savagery served as obstacles for women to stay active and in fact dictated their absence from the scene or at least from the frontlines of the resistance.

Through demagoguery and manipulation of religion the mullahs tried to prevent women's participation in the anti-fundamentalist struggle and in political and social activity. To this end, they focused their hysteric propaganda on a moral smear campaign coupled with a vicious campaign of beating and assaulting women, the Mojahedin and other anti-fundamentalist forces. As a result, a large number of young girls and women were slain in various parts of the country and many more wounded.

When the mullahs' regime took over, it faced a society that had just toppled a monarchic dictatorship after 100 years of struggle for freedom and expected its historic demands to be met. But the revolution lacked a qualified leadership and that led to the emergence of a religious and medieval dictatorship. Politically, this theocracy had to remove revolutionary and progressive forces, and above all the Mojahedin, to ensure its monopolistic rule.

Since Khatami became President in 1997, new restrictive laws and policies have been implemented to segregate women and men in education and health care. Parliament and other religious leaders continue to propose and enact a number of laws or policies that will adversely affect the health, education, and well being of women and girls in Iran. In practice, discriminatory laws and punishments were approved that affected mostly women.

Before assuming office, Khatami made very general and vague promises about the restoration of women's right in a bid to counter the growing inclination of women and young people towards the Resistance. He also claimed that he would include women in his cabinet. Once in office, however, he did not deliver any of his promises.While the notions of rule of law and civil society were gradually forsaken, issues pertaining to women's rights and status were set aside from day one...

In the face of people's demands, Khatami declared the boundaries of the constitution of the velayat-e faqih as "inviolable frontiers" and has lately added to them the policies adopted by the vali-e faqih (Khamenei). Lashing out at the opponents of a religious government, he says, "I should act within the framework of the constitution and within the framework of the policies of the (vali-e faqih) regime." Khatami emphasizes: "Making demands in a way that would not be...

Misogyny is the longest lasting pillar of the clerical regime. This is why we say that if the mullahs refrain from gender discrimination and from imposing the eternal hegemony of men over women, they would be changing their nature. Khomeini stressed: "Declaring that women have equal rights would result in annulling several important Islamic edicts.

From the fundamentalist mullahs' perspective, sexual vice and virtue are the principal criteria for evaluation. The most ignoble and unforgivable of all sins is sexual wrongdoing; piety, chastity and decency are basically measured by sex-related yardsticks.

The mullahs' totalitarian regime is based on the principle of velayat-e faqih. It derives its justification and theoretical basis from fiqh (jurisprudence) which encompasses all aspects of individual and social life. A review of this mindset in its totality, however, demonstrates that the pillar of this backward school of thought is gender distinction and discrimination. In other words, it is a gender-based ideology.