Women's Rights in Iran

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Do you think 13 years old is old enough to get married? To me this is crazy at 13 years old a person is still a child with a lot of growing up to do. In Iran a girl 13 years of age can legally get married. There are many negative effects of getting married at such a young age and many marriages end up in control by the husband. About 1 in every 3 women in Iran is abused throughout their lifetime (Esfandiari, 2003) and in Iran it is just a part of their culture. There are things the U.S. can do to help the women gain their rights and have a higher standard of living. Women have very little rights in Iran and it just isn’t fair.

In Iran the country follows the Sharia, which means Islamic law. “What constitutes childhood according to Sharia differs from that of the Convention of the Right of the Child, which describes “anybody under the age of eighteen as a child” and to which Iran is signatory.” (Tremayne, 2006) Although the Iranian government signed this CRC they did not put it into action because of their religious practices and set the age of legal marriage to 13, unless their legal guardian and another source like a doctor/judge acknowledged they were ready.

Early marriage in Iran has different effects on an adolescent’s physical and psychosocial health. Some of the effects of early marriage are risk of early pregnancy, premature labor, complications during delivery, low birth weights of the babies and poor survival chances for the babies. These are all really important issues that women face when having children at such a young age so why do these women continue to marry at such a young age? And why does society not consider it a concern?

These young adolescents bodies are not developed enough yet so their body acts differently than say a woman’s at 20 years old. “Adolescents under 16 face four times the risk of maternal death as women over 20.” (Mangiaterra, Pendse, McClure, & Rosen, 2008) The body at a young age just cannot handle all the changes so the mother will die giving birth. If the mother does end up giving birth, there is a very large chance that the baby will have some kind of complications. Also because mothers in Iran do not get the medical attention they need during pregnancy the statistics are higher. “Pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for 15-19 year-old girls worldwide.” (Umemoto, 2001)

The rights of woman are considerably lowered when they get married. Men have control of the woman; she has no legal rights to inheritance, alimony or child support if the man leaves her or dies. Women cannot be caught in public with any man other than her husband, brother or father. She has to cover her whole body by wearing a robe and veil. The man in the marriage can have more than one wife but the woman will be stoned to death if she is caught committing adultery.

In Iran polygamy is frowned upon but is acceptable if the wife allows the husband to do so. If you are married you should be committed to that one person, I do not feel even with consent that a man should be able to marry more than one woman. When a couple gets married in Iran the first priority is not love it is more about who the family chooses and feels they want their daughters to marry. When the marriage is forced or planned for them it causes a lot of problems in marriage like domestic abuse, in fact, forced marriage is domestic abuse. The women of Iran are forced to marry whoever the family feels fit for her and if she does not want to do it then she has no choice. This is a form of domestic abuse.

There is a lot of domestic abuse in marriages in Iran. Here are some examples: “Thirteen-year-old Yemeni child bride Ilham Mahdi al Assi died tragically three days after her wedding in April, after she was tied down, raped repeatedly and left bleeding to death. Another recent example is 12-year-old Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, also a Yemeni child bride, who died after three days of excruciating labor pain because her...
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