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.
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.
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.
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.
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