Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

“Women are allowed to ride bikes – just not in public” Khamenei’s fatwa: another nail in the coffin of women rights in Iran

The Gordian: sign up and get our monthly magazine.

A bike campaign

In the autumn of 2015, a young environmentalist in Arak, a city with pollution levels as staggering as those in Tehran, started a “car-free Tuesday” campaign to encourage people to commute by bike. The campaign soon turned popular with municipal authorities across the country beginning to encourage residents to ride bikes and leave their cars at home.

Women cyclists, naturally, saw an opportunity to support a good cause that everybody in Iran could agree on: clean air. They thought they could cycle like other male citizens if they respected Iran’s strict dress code, which requires women to cover their hair and body in public. The campaign was soon aborted after a group of female cyclists were detained in the western city of Marivan following criticism from the city’s Friday Prayers leader. The women were released the same day, but only after they signed pledges not to cycle again.

In 2016 the supreme leader Ali Khamenei appeared to settle the issue once and for all with a fatwa that did not seem to have any legal basis; banning women from cycling in public. Stating that: “women were allowed to ride bikes, just not in public.” 

Not exactly Saudi Arabia, but equally disgraceful

Women in Iran are long being treated as second class citizens. They are banned from attending public sport matches, travelling abroad without the permission of their male relatives and even receiving less in insurance money than their male counterparts.

The 1979 Iranian revolution seemed to have brought distressing levels of gender discrimination and misogyny. Khamenei will eventually join the ash heap of history, like all other dictators have, but the culture of feminism might prove to be more challenging to the established Iranian religious-conservatives than they could possibly imagine.

The way forward

Creating conversations about these types of issues and using peaceful civil disobedience are the next logical steps forward. The male-dominated Iranian establishment needs to understand that their outdated beliefs can no longer be forced upon a population of 81 million. It is time that Iran, and all other religious nations around the globe, understand that religion can no longer be used to promote violence, bigotry and intolerance.

UN-aligned is dedicating this piece to all the men and women who have demonstrated their courage in resisting the evil attempts of the Iranian regime to suppress their fundamental rights. They will be remembered by generations to come.

Take ownership of UN-aligned

Unlike most organisations, UN-aligned is, primarily, its members. We are the New United Nations and though just a drop in the ocean, for now, we will carry on growing until we will become a force to be reckoned with! The more of us there are, the more chance we have of achieving our aims. Help us by promoting membership to you friends or to people you think have similar values. If every member added another, membership would snowball and we would be unstoppable! We also need active members: people who roll up their sleeves and contribute to the work of the organisation. Some already have, for instance, by writing articles for The Gordian, or offering to help with proofreading.

No matter what you can do, we want you. Write to us with your talents and we’ll make it work. 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp


Meet The New Lady Justice

Welcome to the first issue of the 6 volume of The Gordian. It is largely accepted that Lady Justice’s blindfold symbolises impartiality, however, one cannot help comparing the blindfold to that of “blind” Fortune, whose largess is purely random. How else can there be so much injustice in the world? We say no more: Meet our new Lady Justice. This issue offers the usual mix of politics, interviews, culture, and galleries by our UN-aligneders across the world, including Ruby Goldenberg, Carla Pietrobattista, Katharina Wüstnienhaus, Atika Harba, Kaitlyn Rivera, Anahita Ahmadi, Partho Pratim Chatterjee, Sailaja S.P and Aryan Yekrangi. The editors are Adrian Liberto and Ariana Yekrangi.

Subscribe to the The Gordian magazine and more...

The Gordian is the official UN-aligned magazine. It is a round-up of global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography. It also keeps you updated about UN-aligned’s progress and impact in the real word.

We promise not to spam your inbox.  Find how we use your information.

Or become a free member.

Get The Gordian sent right to your email...
UN-aligned magazine is a round-up of global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography and insightful companion pieces.
We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at anytime.

UN-aligned uses cookies to make this website better.