Do you think that women in Iran need to wear Hijab?
There is a lot of debate surrounding whether or not women in iran need to wear hijab.
In Iran, women have been required to wear a hijab or headscarf since 1983 after the 1979 revolution. Since then, women have been forced to wear long, loose shawls and headscarves. To ensure the law is respected, Interpol patrols the streets. But two major online campaigns are showing people at home and abroad that Iranian women want to vote.
The practice sparked controversy. Many men and women from Islamic and non-Islamic backgrounds question the hijab and what it means for women and their rights. People have questioned whether wearing the hijab is actually a women's choice in practice, or whether women are forced or pressured to wear it. Many cases, such as the current women's masking policy in the Islamic Republic of Iran, have brought these issues to the fore and sparked major debates among academics and ordinary people alike.
In Iran, the mandatory hijab was introduced a few years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. By law, women must cover their hair and wear loose clothing in all public places, including workplaces, schools and universities. This task is carried out by so-called morale guards.
There are a number of reasons why women might choose to wear hijab.
Women wearing hijabs have been verbally and physically abused around the world in recent years, especially in the wake of terrorist attacks. Louis A. Cainkar writes that data suggest that women who wear hijab are more likely than men to be the main target of anti-Muslim attacks, not because they are more likely to be identified as Muslims, but because they are seen as a local threat. The moral order of the attacker tries to justify itself. Some women stop wearing hijabs out of fear or feeling pressure from acquaintances, but many refuse to stop wearing hijabs out of religious beliefs, even when urged to do so for self-protection.
It's also worth noting that the hijab is not mandatory, but it can't be worn either. Tunisia and Turkey have experienced decades of enforced secularization, during which the hijab has not only been stigmatized and relegated to a retrograde, but even banned in state and public institutions. Presumably, many women who still decide to wear a hijab under these circumstances are at considerable risk. In Tunisia, wearing a headscarf signified suspicion of being a member or supporter of the then-banned Islamist movement Ennahda. (Few argue more enthusiastically than some secular dictatorships that the hijab is a product of Islamism). Until a few years ago, wearing a hijab in Turkey meant that you could neither go to university in your own country nor be a doctor in a public hospital. Still, many, if not most, choose to cover their hair.
Because of this, I'm having a hard time understanding why we need to put the word "choice" in quotes. Every hijab woman I know in the USA chooses to wear it voluntarily, sometimes to the dismay or even outright disapproval of friends and family. While hijabs are mandatory in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, in countries such as Turkey or Morocco, there is no evidence that large numbers of women are forced to wear hijabs against their will, whether as parents or partners. So it really depends on which countries we're talking about. (Of course, where women are coerced by families, communities and civil society organizations, whether in Western countries or Muslim-majority countries, it should be clearly spoken out and acted upon).