Iran is unveiling itself: How men are standing up for their women’s rights

Imagine yourself being really good at playing football, so good that people start to call you by the nickname of ‘lady goal’. In fact, you are nobody less than Iran’s indoor women’s football team captain. The speed of your feet makes you barely touch the ground while running, while you are staying focused on your goal as a real professional football player. Imagine yourself now going home to tell your husband that you can play in Malaysia to represent your country. But he tells you that you can’t. Case over, no compromises are being made. When husbands decide, wives remain silent.

This happened to Niloufar Ardalan, whose husband found it was more important for her as a mother to be present on their son’s birthday than to play football in another country. Her case led to a feminist revolution on the social media, as if Iran is unveiling itself, by Iranian men.

Niloufar Ardalan
Niloufar Ardalan
“it's not only the rights of wives that has been transferred to the Iranian husbands by law. inheritance laws are the same way. these days that many injustices are done against women, and we even see that sometimes these injustices are done by the father and the child and the husband too, each of us should start the change from ourselves. I support women by offering equal rights for my sister. she has the same rights as me and should never be considered as half of a man in inheritance or any other issue. if the natural rights of women have been captured by law, it doesn't mean that they belong to us. it's their rights and we should give it back by saying no to discriminatory laws”
“it’s not only the rights of wives that has been transferred to the Iranian husbands by law. inheritance laws are the same way. these days that many injustices are done against women, and we even see that sometimes these injustices are done by the father and the child and the husband too, each of us should start the change from ourselves. I support women by offering equal rights for my sister. she has the same rights as me and should never be considered as half of a man in inheritance or any other issue. if the natural rights of women have been captured by law, it doesn’t mean that they belong to us. it’s their rights and we should give it back by saying no to discriminatory laws”

The most famous Facebook page that issues about this case is ‘my stealthy freedom’, where the main message is to make people aware about the unequal rights women have in Iran. The page was created by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist living in the US.

“They (women) need to be aware of what they’re signing, and that they can ask for their rights to be returned,” Alinejad said to BBC, while discussing marriage in Iran. “The standard marriage contract signed by all newlyweds in Iran allows the husband to decide whether his wife can travel abroad, where the family will live, whether she can go to work, and whether she can ask for a divorce.” But Iranian husbands and men are saying no to the unequal rights and the ability of men to abuse the freedom of women, by sending pictures to Alinejad of themselves with small written messages.

“I, an Iranian man, am ashamed of article 18 of the passport law, my wife! you are free.”
“I, an Iranian man, am ashamed of article 18 of the passport law, my wife! you are free.”
“The right to travel is the smallest right I'll give back to my wife. Giving back the very obvious human rights of Iranian women, is the undeniable duty of the men of our land.”
“The right to travel is the smallest right I’ll give back to my wife. Giving back the very obvious human rights of Iranian women, is the undeniable duty of the men of our land.”

But also the victims themselves, women, are starting their own way of revolution. In Iran women are obligated to wear the headscarf and need to follow a specific dress code. That’s also the reason why some Iranian women are putting off the veil, they believe there’s nothing useful about forcing women to wear something. On the contrary, the free choice and freedom of women is being restricted a lot because of rules like these.

The wife of the Iranian football player, Hadi Nouroozi, said goodbye to her beloved husband today in the football stadium today. When she entered the stadium she said: "Finally I came here, I wish I didn't". Women in Iran are banned from stadium to watch the men's game.
The wife of the Iranian football player, Hadi Nouroozi, said goodbye to her beloved husband today in the football stadium today. When she entered the stadium she said: “Finally I came here, I wish I didn’t”. Women in Iran are banned from stadium to watch the men’s game.

Activists are hoping there will be a more open mentality in Iran on every level, not only among the people, but also in the government itself with a change in laws and rules.

If you liked reading this story, like us on Facebook to get our stories first!

Written by Mayada Srouji

Mayada Srouji

Mayada Srouji is a 22-year-old student Arabic and Islamic Studies with a minor in Political and Social sciences. She writes short stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

  • Dania Allaf

    This is very well written. It’s good to see that women in Iran no longer want to live under this injustice anymore. Society always complains that women are never leaders of society or have high careers as CEO’s, and etc. but those same people are the ones who limit women’s ability to thrive and keep her hidden; and this has to stop.
    Again, well written!