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Divorce Rate in Iran Skyrockets as Women Initiate More Divorces

Divorce Rate in Iran Skyrockets as Women Initiate More Divorces

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Published by diligentpurpose
The myth that women cannot get divorces legally in Iran and that there are few women going to school is flat out demolished in this article.
The myth that women cannot get divorces legally in Iran and that there are few women going to school is flat out demolished in this article.

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Published by: diligentpurpose on Nov 28, 2013
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Maryam Rahmanian
In October 2008 in Tehran, an Iranianman was taken away for not paying amehrieh, a payment made in the eventof a divorce.
Iran’s Divorce Rate Stirs Fears of Society in Crisis
By WILLIAM YONGPublished: December 6, 2010
TEHRAN — The wedding nearly 1,400 years ago of Imam Ali, ShiiteIslam’s most revered figure, and Fatemeh al-Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, is commemorated in Iran’s packed politicalcalendar as a day to celebrate family values.But in a sign of the Iranianauthorities’ increasing concern aboutIran’s shif ting social landscape, Marriage Day, as it is usually knownin Iran, this year was renamed NoDivorce Day. Iran’s justice ministerdecreed that no divorce permits would be issued. Whether the switch was effective or not, the officialsconcerns are understandable. Divorce is skyrocketing inIran. Over a decade, the number each year has roughly tripled to a little more than150,000 in 2010 from around 50,000 in 2000, according to official figures. Nationwide,
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there is one divorce for every seven marriages; in Tehran, the ratio is 1 divorce for every 3.76 marriages, the government has reported. While the change in divorce rates is remarkable, even more surprising is the major force behind it: the increasing willingness of Iranian women to manipulate the Iranian legalsystem to escape unwanted marriages.The numbers are still modest compared with the United States, which typically recordsabout a million divorces a year in a population about four times as large. But for Iran, with a conservative Islamic culture that strongly discourages divorce, the trend is striking,and shows few signs of slowing. In the last Iranian calendar year, ending in March,divorces were up 16 percent from the year before, compared with a 1 percent increase inmarriages.“In May, a registry office I work with recorded 70 divorces and only 3 marriages,” said alawyer who requested anonymity for fear of retribution by the Iranian authorities. “Thenext month, a friend at another office said he recorded 60 divorces and only onemarriage.” He noted that both offices were in central Tehran and not in the city’s affluentnorth, which is considered more liberal and Westernized.Not only is divorce on the rise, but marriages are also failing early, with 30 percent of divorces in any given year occurring in the first year of marriage and 50 percent in thefirst five years. Some people, doubtful of the government statistics, suspect that thenumbers are even higher.Conservative commentators call the problem a social ill on par with drug addiction andprostitution. Senior officials and members of Parliament have increasingly referred to theissue as a “crisis” and a “national threat.” Explanations for the rising divorce rate vary.More liberal commentators emphasize factors like rapid urbanization, high living costsand a jobless rate that official figures put at close to one in four among 16- to 25-year-olds.Conservatives often point to what they say is growing godlessness among the young andthe corrupting effects of the Western media.“High dowries, high living costs, lack of jobs and financial support make young people fearmarriage,” said a member of Parliament, Gholamreza Asadollahi, who also blamed young
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people who had lost their belief “in the unseen power of God to solve life’s problems.”But most experts agree that nothing has contributed as much as a deep-rooted awakeningin Iranian women that is altering traditional attitudes toward marriage, relationships,careers and, generally speaking, women’s place in what is still an overwhelmingly patriarchal society.Twenty percent of Iranian women are employed or actively looking for jobs, according togovernment figures, compared with 7 percent in the first years after the 1979 IslamicRevolution. Female undergraduate students outnumber men in Iran’s universities almosttwo to one.“This economic freedom has had an effect on the behavior of women in the home,” saidSaeid Madani, a member of the Iranian Sociological Association. “In the past, if ahousewife left her home, she would go hungry; now there is a degree of possibility of finding a job and earning an income.”But something more is at work than simple economics, many experts say. “Women havefound the courage to break with tradition and say no to the past,” said Azardokht Mofidi, apsychiatrist and the author of several books on psychoanalysis. “They are no longerprepared to put up with hardships in marriage, and their expectations have risen toinclude equality in relationships.”Nazanin, a woman nearing 50 who has been divorced twice, has experienced the changein attitudes. Married at age 18, during the politically charged years of the IslamicRevolution and the Iran-Iraq war, Nazanin divorced two years later in the face of asociety that still held firm to the Persian adage that a woman enters her husband’s home wearing a white wedding dress and leaves it in her white funeral clothes.“For years, I hid the fact,” said Nazanin, relaxing without a hijab in the modest, sparsely decorated apartment where she lives with her adult son. “For a while, my family told theneighbors stories and lies, saying he had gone to work abroad. At work, because I was still young, I kept wearing my ring and didn’t tell anybody.” After she broke up with her second husband 14 years ago, her religious parents were onceagain mortified, but friends were more accepting. In the years since, Nazanin says she has
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