Women gaining more presence in Iranian stadiums
WANA (Apr 19) – Iran is slowly but surely making changes to its rules regarding women, not completely alternating route but making some tweaks that can make so much difference.
One of those rules is the long-time ban on the presence of female spectators in men’s sports matches. Some years ago, the ban was adjusted to outdoor sports events, allowing women to attend indoor sports matches.
Last week, the sports ministry, Seyed Hamid Sajjadi, said in a meeting that the president had emphasized on giving special attention to the presence of women in stadiums and during important events while maintaining their dignity.
“According to the President’s order, from the moment we sell the tickets, we are obliged to provide public vehicles for the transportation of women, parking lots, clean toilets, guide them to their seats, prepare prayer rooms, buffets and security forces, all with an emphasis on maintaining their dignity and if there is a problem, it should be improved and fixed until the time of the events” Sajjadi said.
Recently women have been allowed to participate in football matches held in the famous “Azadi” stadium. The numbers where not as much as men but still their very presence was a positive step for future games.
The Islamic Republic has said time and again that it has no problem with female spectators but that it lacks the right infrastructure to place women in the stadiums, such as separate bathrooms, seating sections, etc. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, all public spaces as well as transportation, have been segregated for men and women, for the safety and comfort of women mostly. As a girl living in Iran, this is very convenient for us giving a sense of security and ease.
The main philosophy behind all this, of course goes back to the Islamic nature and identity of the nation. Women’s dignity is at the core of Islamic values which has to be protected and the country being an “Islamic republic” is trying its best to do that.
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It might seem outrageous from a western point of view, however female-only spaces are gaining more attention and popularity around the world. A gender-neutral society where gender equality is attained needs an environment where an individual alone or in group feels physically and psychologically comfortable and safe.
The truth is that such a utopian society does not exist and in the present scenario, women do need separate women’s spaces to safeguard themselves and be comfortable.
Of course, banning women from unsuitable places is not the right path and the Iranian government is taking steps to fix that. Creating spaces especially for females is steadily becoming a priority and the country’s president urging the sports ministry to make it happen in the stadiums might be what is needed to speed things up.