Postcards from Iran: Maheen

As part of a week of special coverage on Iran, the BBC World Service has spoken to a number of Iranians about the situation in their country and their fears of possible conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Maheen: I have read about democracy… in other countries and would like us to have the same

“My name is Maheen and I am 60 years old. Being a mother and a woman I want to talk about Iranian women – what we have and what don’t have.

I didn’t have the opportunity to continue with my studies, but I love reading. I can tell you that since the 1979 revolution, women have become more aware politically.

I have read about democracy, freedom of religion and freedom of expression in other countries and would like us to have the same in Iran.

We have the ability to do great things. I think after the revolution a different class system has been created in Iran.

If you have money, you can afford to send your children abroad to study. But the majority of people have to work hard to get what they want and often it is a struggle.

Most of our graduates are women.

We also have a small group who is close to the establishment and they are the ones ending up with the good jobs within the government. But they don’t necessarily represent all of us.

In reality, equality of men and women does not exist in Iran. For example, the government doesn’t allow a young woman to go abroad and continue with her education unless she is married.

We cannot become judges. Even if women become members of parliament, they can not talk about women’s concerns – and remember these are women who are working close to the establishment!

But, if given the opportunity, women in Iran have proved they can do great things.
Look at Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Laureate, who works very hard for the rights of women and children.

Iranian women have proved to be great physicians, writers and lawyers.
But today we have lost many of our rights. For example, if a woman is killed, her blood money is half of what they pay for a man.

Or in the court of law two women witnesses are equal to one man.

The law, with regards to most issues, supports men. Men rule Iran.

Our society also consists of young people and women. But they need opportunities and respect to show what they can do.

Our women lawyers are trying hard to establish our rights. I hope we succeed soon.


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