The Iranian government has sentenced four women’s rights activists to six months in jail, including one woman who recently received a $75,000 human rights award. It was the latest sign of a crackdown on female activists who are challenging the government’s record on human rights. According to Sussan Tahmashebi, “This is part of a backlash against women’s rights activists who demand equal rights in a patriarchal system.” Among the charges against women activists is their writing on the Internet which were deemed to be making slanderous remarks against the government. It is estimated at least 50 activists have been arrested during the past few years.
A major problem is the institutionalized discrimination against women. The fight for Iranian women rights in one sense is dependent on re-establishing contacts between western nations and the Iranian government. More contacts at least offer a possibility of helping to create a new generation of Iranian leadership.