By: Dr. Shervin Sherma
On the whole, this grim situation in the US and in Europe further reduces their income if a working woman becomes mother and takes care of her child during employment.1
In this unjust gender biased pay-gap system against women in Western countries where many are single mothers, while others live in cohabitation2 or marriage. Employed mothers have to struggle hard to keep their job to earn and attend to family responsibilities. This often leads to reduced employment hours and their expulsion from the paid workforce completely. Having children may also reduce a mother’s access to material resources and the psychosocial benefits of paid work with potentially deleterious impacts on their health and well-being.3 Many women in the postpartum period experience poor mental health including anxiety, depression and insomnia as well physical illness. Symptoms such as backache, headache, fatigue, sex-related concerns, perineal pain, and gastrointestinal problems are common. Recent research suggests that longer duration of maternity leave of 6 months significantly leads to better health and provides time for mothers to rest and recover from pregnancy and childbirth, reduces intimate partner violence, improves infant attachment and child development, decreases infant mortality and mother and infant re-hospitalizations and allows timely administration of infant immunizations.4
Contrary to the notions of the extremist Wahhabi cult and its various versions practiced in the name of Islam in certain countries and communities that forbid education of girls and strictly impose overall suppression of women in society, the Islamic Republic of Iran has elevated the status of women based on the original teachings of Islam as bequeathed by Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his progeny the Ahl ul-Bayt (AS). As a result, women in Iran’s Islamic society are more active in almost all spheres, ranging from highly technical fields to politics. The social and cultural climate of the modern Iranian society supports women to pursue higher education in any field. In fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country that has developed a complete system of laws and practices for women on the basis of the teachings of Islam.
In the Islamic Republic Iran, according to the Islamic laws, women are paid salary and benefits equal to men at all levels – in sharp contrast to their discriminated situation in the US and in Europe. In addition, 9 months fully paid leave is given to expecting mothers, while in case of twins or more, it is 1 year and they are also given daily 2 hours to breastfeed their child for 1 year, followed by 1 hour daily until two years. The father is also given paid leave for 10 days on birth of their child and in case of twins or more it is until one full month.5
In modern societies, the rights of women are trampled in the name of Western liberal or Eastern traditional culture, manmade laws, old style rigid mindset and customs and cruel norms. There are several “Hadith” (narrations) of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his blessed Ahl ul-Bayt (AS) in respect to and praise of the feminine gender. “Ayahs” of Holy Qur’an and “Hadith” clearly mention high status and role of husband and wife in Islamic family life. While so-called equality of the male and female genders is a common slogan in the liberal Western societies, the scientific research published in peer reviewed journals prove gender differences from various aspects from genetics to psychology and even gender related medical disorders. These articles and internationally published scientific books prove that females and males are not equal but mostly different from all aspects and so fully justify the reason for gender-specific laws, teachings and practices of Islam.
Based on Islamic “Ijtihad” (rational reasoning on the basis of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith), the Islamic Republic of Iran has interpreted and implemented the guidelines about women’s rights in its modern revolutionary and progressive society. Women are empowered based on their talents, interests, roles, responsibilities and rights. They have a very high status culturally, socially and legally in present day Iran. The rights and status of women according to the teachings of Islam as implemented in the Islamic Republic of Iran ought to be an eye-opener for many west-toxicated modern intellectuals living in mostly developing countries that are culturally, socially, politically and militarily dominated by the West, as well as those living in Western societies where women are suffering from ‘modern enslavement’ in the name of liberal lifestyle.
To sum up, modern western lifestyle has led to disastrous consequences for women where women’s physical features and nudity are used in advertisements, movies and media to run businesses and sell commodities, where sexual crimes against women and sexual harassment are skyrocketing everywhere, where cohabitation is preferred over marriage, where illegitimate birth, illegal abortions, teen pregnancy and single parent family are considered normal, and where discrimination against women in employment conditions, bullying workplace environment, unjust salary, oppressive maternity leave conditions and very low benefits are a part of the society’s cultural and legal system. (Concluded)
9 Aitkena, Z. et al: The Maternal Health Outcomes of Paid Maternity Leave: A Systematic Review - Social Science & Medicine, 2015; 130: 32-14.
10 Living with a male partner without marriage: Male partner has legally no responsibility to financially support mother and child.
11 Ibid: Ref. # 6
12 G. Kaufman: Fixing Parental Leave: The Six Month Solution - New York University Press (2020).
13 Islamic Research Center of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis); for more details about laws, see: <https://rc.majlis.ir/fa/news/show/1660022> (last accessed: 1/10/2022)
Please read “Dr. Shervin Sherma” instead of “Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer” in the byline of the first part of the above article, printed on the front page of our newspaper, yesterday (Wednesday, November 23, 2022). The inadvertent error, due to a technical fault, is regretted.