March 5, 2015

USING BOTH HANDS:

How Iran's feminist genie escaped (Amy Guttman, 3/04/15, BBC Magazine)

Farah talks of the major changes Iranian women have experienced in the last 30 years, while I imagine the morning commute back home... a sea of heads face-down in tablets, others dozing to iTunes lullabies. On Tehran's metro, I'm getting a spontaneous, unprompted lesson about gender equality in Iran.

Farah tells me it all began, not with imports from the West, but with the 1979 revolution. A confluence of access, education and a bad economy created a society where women now have independence, careers and husbands happy to help around the house with chores and children.

The revolution, Farah says, was very good for women.

"The revolutionists supported women coming out of their homes to demonstrate. They used women to show their strength, but they never anticipated these women also believed in their right to exist outside the home," Farah remembers.

Iran's genies were let out of the bottle. The same genies have gone on to become active members of theological schools and hold positions as judges and engineers. "I don't care what they spread, radical or fundamental, whether I believe in it or not, they have a voice, it makes me happy," Farah says proudly.

Women, Farah says, now outnumber men in their pursuit of graduate degrees"

There's no greater evidence of women in the workplace, than where we're sitting, surrounded by women on their way to work. It's another outcome the Ayatollah hadn't expected, but with Iran's economy battered by the revolution, women had no choice but to join the workforce.

"It forced men to acknowledge that their wives could go out and earn money," Farah says. 

Posted by at March 5, 2015 3:43 PM
  

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