The Girl Childng+10 Report of the Communication Network of Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

Introduction

Background

Considering the human dignity and rights of girl child and necessity of expressing

kindness and more attention to them and warnings of punishment by God in case of

violence and killing girl child is clearly stated in Holy Quran. From long ago, special

care of girl child has been one of the highest religious and moral values in

Iranian society.

Existence of patriarchy and wrong customs have discriminated access of girls and

boys to equal opportunities. This discrimination starts from health care, education,

and nutrition and reaches to different psychological issues.

However, religious and political leaders have always emphasized on equal access to

education and employment and other rights of citizenship among boys and girls and

wrong processes and customs in families have always been criticized and there have

been people in charge of programming and implementation of projects to eliminate

discrimination.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Article 21

2.the protection of mothers, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing, and the

protection of children without guardians;

5.the awarding of guardianship of children to worthy mothers, in order to protect the

interests of the children, in the absence of a legal guardian

Vision:

Twenty years vision of the country:

Spirit of cooperation- Unity of people and government

The twenty years perspective doesn’t directly refer to girl child but it is obvious that

girls and boys of today will be future managers and leaders. So, for the twenty years

perspective to come true it is essential to pay attention to the needs and demands of

girls to make them, active, responsible, generous, believer, satisfied, have working

consciousness, organization, spirit of cooperation, social compatibility, committed

to the Islamic Revolution, development of Iran and honored to be Iranian, so that

they can play their role in the perspective.

Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities

14. Right of girls to have suitable guardianship of parents

15.Right of girls to enjoy necessities including house, clothing, sound and sufficient

nutrition and health facilities in order to secure their physical and psychological

health;

16. Right of girls for education and training and preparing the ground for creativity

in terms of talents

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Current Situation and Achievements

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, men are usually head and bread winner of the

family. Access to inheritance is equal between men and women. Of course in the

Islamic legal system, where human rights are the main issue, all conditions are

equal for men and women but in other cases according to the roles and physical differences

it varies to maintain spiritual and financial health of the family which is

holy in Islam.

According to Article 1041 of civil law which was amended in 2002, minimum age

of marriage was defined 13 for girls and 15 for boys. Marriage before this age

should be with the consent of the father or by the statement of legitimate court.

According to the mandate and responsibilities considered for women in the Islamic

Republic of Iran, women have the right of knowing, choosing their husband according

to the criteria and can enjoy the support of their father in marriage.

This mandate was prepared by Supreme Socio-cultural council of women and was

amended and revised in the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. This mandate

has been prepared inspired by the general and moderate laws of Islam and the

Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and recommendations of Imam

Khomeini, Supreme leader and the Islamic Declaration of Human Rights.

In Iran the Statistical Center of Iran - that according to law has the responsibility

of preparing formal statistics in the country - and in other organizations such as registration

organization, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, all gender

segregated statistics provide the opportunity of programming for both boys and

girls separately.

Women’s NGOs were 50 in 1996 while in 2004, this number reached to 480 and

most of them are active in cultural, social, and union fields. These organizations

have the capacity of effective measures in increasing women’s participation in political

and social issues and preserving their rights in the frame of law of Islamic

Republic of Iran.

L.2 ELIMINATE NEGATIVE CULTURAL ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES

AGAINST GIRLS

In 1997 the ratio of highly educated women in the fields of mathematics, computer,

architecture, and engineering was 29, 3.8, and 24 percent while in 2004 it

reached to 35, 6.7, and 44 percent which represents a significant growth and interest

of girls in studying in technical fields. On the other hand, tendency in social

fields has considerable decreased among girls. Considering that during the past

years, there were more girls attending higher-level education centers, in the future

girls will be educationally in better situation.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, illegal abortion and sex preference has significantly

decreased. This will be discussed in details in health section.

In the current situation, women’s literacy and education at higher levels not only

is not less than men but in many cases women have had more achievements so that

attendants of tertiary education at governmental or private institutes are mostly

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girls. (more details can be found in the section of “Education and Training of

Women”).

ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GIRLS IN HEALTH AND

NUTRITION

In 1996, almost 89 percent of girls between 6 to 10 were studying at junior

schools or literacy classes where in 2004 due to the fact that most of the population

was studying at formal education centers, this ratio decreased and reached to 6 and

0.6 percent. The number of women who have studied at literacy classes is almost 4

times of those for men, which shows that the possibility of education for men in formal

education centers of the Ministry of Education has been more than women.

 The Ministry of Health that covers most of the rural and urban areas of the country

is actively advocating reproductive health through face to face advocacy, printing

posters and training books to women. Also, a university “Population and family

planning” course has been added to the curriculum to advocate the issue. These

activities have brought about changes such as increase of average age of marriage

from 18 in 1960s to 23.6 in 2004.

According to the labor law of Islamic Republic of Iran, employing individuals

less than 15 years of age is prohibited and those between 15 to 18 recruited to work,

should undergo some medical tests before employment to define their abilities and

to be given a proper occupation and they should work half an hour less than others.

Hard labor, working at night, harmful and dangerous jobs, carrying weights with

hand more than the defined amount is prohibited.

Government’s Actions

Promoting girls’ access to education in deprived areas of the country

Promotion of education and increasing its internal and external efficiency in all educational

levels for girl children

Implementing programs to attract girls that are deprived from education or have left

school

Implementing the National Plan of Development of Women’s Sports at country

level to fill the spare time of women and girls

Establishing “Health Houses” for girls

Coverage and organization of centers for street children (project of street children

shelters)

Dissemination of information among girls regarding reproductive, and sexual

health and HIV/AIDS

Developing a culture of healthy nutrition among girls (especially at schools)

Enhancing consultation centers by employing social workers, lawyers, psychologists,

and education consultants

Amending some laws and regulation affecting girl child life, especially on custody

issues, and Increasing age of marriage and establishing courts for addressing child

criminals

Plan of creating special telephone lines for addressing the crisis of child harassment

and violence at home and other plans to address violations against girl child (It has

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been covered in the report on “Violence against Women”).

Women’s NGOs Activities

In general, 64 activities have been done by women’s NGOs to promote girl

child status in the country. Although there are many organizations working on

issues regarding children and their target groups are girls, their activities have

not been discussed in this report. The following activities are those implemented

by women’s NGOs.

Holding conferences and meetings regarding vulnerability of children such as

working children and rights of girls

Holding training workshops for children on different issues such as environment,

right of the child, etc

Offering consultation services to develop a better life for children, especially girl

children

Providing a collection of recommendations to promote realization of rights of the

child

Conducting research on major issues related to the girl child

Printing bulletins and publications regarding girls’ issues

Preparing papers and articles on priority issues of the girl child in Iran

Assisting children in Bam earthquake

Establishing kindergartens

Establishing associations to support the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Entrepreneurship programs for young girls

Demonstrations on the day of “Clean Air” with the presence of girl children

Providing support for orphans, especially female orphans

Providing games involving mental abilities by adopting gender balance

Girl child or young girls have not been merely the target group of women’s NGOs,

other organizations with other approaches have also targeted girls especially those

NGOs supporting children and young people or those involved in sanitation and

environment issues.

The information gathered from the abovementioned organizations shows that they

have mainly focused on the issue of social damages of girls and they have less

addressed empowerment. Anyway, lack of proper communication and coordination

among these NGOs has caused duplication of some activities while other issues

have not been covered.

While environmental organization are mainly involved in camping for girls to cover

environmental concerns; health organizations focus on trainings regarding puberty

and women’s NGOs are interested in indoor trainings and capacity building.

In case the future activities of NGOs focus more on field works and entering local

communities and schools and public arenas allocated to girls, most of the plans will

get a more realistic dimension and governmental partners will be also interested in

assisting NGOs.

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CNWN Activities

Holding gatherings on child abuse using a method of “search for future”

Creating consultation centers

Holding training workshops on puberty health for young girls

Planning and recommending a students’ Parliament

Plan of educating families on their behaviors regarding children

Fourth National Development Plan

The government should undertake the following actions to ensure equal access to

education, enhancement of knowledge, skills and promotion of using human

resources, especially girls in qualitative and quantitative development of public

educations (introduction of Article 52):

Providing facilities to eradicate deprivation from education through developing

boarding schools in central villages and dormitories

Remote education and through media and providing nutrition, transportation, health

and other needs of students at boarding schools

Enhancing education centers and also sport centers according to gender and provisions

for enhancing pre-school education especially in bilingual areas (Chapter 4,

section S, Article 52).

Providing special insurance (as support activities) for women as the head of household

and individuals without families, prioritizing orphans (Chapter 8, section G,

Article 96).

Provision of security and freedom for growth of social institutes to defend women

and children’s rights (Chapter 8, section D, Article 100).

Freedom of associations and supporting rights of civil organizations in the Labor

Law (fundamental labor rights).

Right of organizations and group meetings

Equal wages for equal work for men and women

Eliminating discrimination in employment and vocations

Observing minimum age of work

Prohibiting child labor

Observing minimum range of wages (Chapter 8, section A, Article 101).

Challenges and Constraints

Lack of education facilities at pre-high school and high school levels in some villages

leading the girls to quit school

Lack of facilities to spend spare time for girls

Lack of sport centers for women and girls

Lack of employment opportunities for girls

Girls start work before reaching legal age of labor

Recommendation to the Government

Increasing the number of boarding schools for girls in remote and deprived areas

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Developing social consultation centers in schools for girls

Developing sport centers for girls

Focusing on nutrition and health of those children whose mothers are in prison,

especially girls

Encouraging girls to participate in social, economic, and political activities

Enhancing their self-reliance and participatory skills

Promoting trainings and books for adults with an aim of creating sensitivity among

them regarding some traditional approaches affecting girls

Educating parents on the importance of physical and psychological health and welfare

of girls including elimination of discrimination against girls, especially in nutrition

and marriage

Providing facilities and services for disabled girls and their families

Reinforcing and amending laws supporting girls

Providing access for girls to education, information and media in social, cultural,

economic, and political issues and increasing their self-conscious through empowerment

Educating parents regarding their equal behavior in giving rights to boys and girls

and ensuring equal distribution of responsibilities at home.

Recommendation to Women’s NGOs

Attracting girls to participate in social activities to promote participatory spirit

Advocating and reinforcing religious and traditional issues regarding human rights

of girls among parents, educators and other beneficiaries

Presence and participation in decision making and programming for girls

Entering local communities and enhancing services to improve girls’ status

Attention to the fact that in field trainings and capacity building programs, the target

group should cover girls and other groups involved with the issue of girls, especially

family members

Monitoring and evaluation of governmental projects on improving girls’ status and

consultation services to them to amend implementing processes

Providing skills and vocational trainings for girls to increase opportunity of

employment and access to decision making processes in planning programs such as

sports and cultural activities

Enhancing access of disabled girls to education and skills training for their complete

cooperation and participation in life.

Conclusion

Respecting human rights and dignity of girl child is a national will in all development

policies and programs of the country including health of girl child, training

and education, employment, …

Based on this principle in 1993 the Islamic Republic of Iran ratified the Convention

on Rights of children by the reservation that those principles in accordance with

Islamic rules will be implemented.

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In Iran, girls equal to boys have identity and personality and have achieved better

than boys in training and education. In inheritance they have their own portion

according to what is defined in law, in marriage they have the right to choice by the

help and guidance of father, in health they are more active in rendering services and

used health and reproductive services more than men and receive more support.

Although, there has been gender preference to the benefit of boys in rural context

with agricultural income, ant it might still be there, now families are equally interested

in girl child as boys and there is no gender preference especially in urban

areas.

Promotion of girls’ education level compared to boys in Iran is more than the indicators

provided in Beijing documents and MDG. Anyway the main challenge of

Iranian society is proper response to girls’ demands who actively support changes

in the roles and reactions of the society more than boys.

Graphs:

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