The news about the recent acid attacks against a number of women in my ancestral city of Esfahan in Iran came as a shock, mainly because of its severity.
The regime does crackdown against women. There are arrests and some are even imprisoned. But this kind of violent attack by unknown assailants is foreign to many Iranians. Mention acid attacks against women and most Iranians are likely to tell you that this is far more likely to happen in other countries where extremism is more prevalent among the population. One reason why you are likely to hear such a response is because it is believed that the women were “targeted for not being properly veiled”.
This recent attack should start ringing alarm bells. Whether the government will crackdown hard against such extremism against women is unclear. One member of the Iranian parliament has pointed to Israel as well as other foreign countries as being behind these attacks!!
These attacks are not the only sign which show how life for women in Iran has gotten worst after the 1979 revolution. There are several government imposed discriminations against them, in society and at the work place. This is despite the fact that women form the majority of University graduates in Iran.
Iranian women also suffer because of poverty, much like the rest of society. But because there are fewer opportunities available to them, over the years increasing number have been forced into prostitution. This includes married women, and young girls.
The short documentary below which was made in Iran discusses this phenomenon and interviews a number of prostitutes. They discuss why they chose this profession and what life in Iran is like for women, especially those who do not belong to the upper class.