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The Iran regime is continuing its unrelenting crackdown on women’s rights, declaring in a recent statement that it will deny services to students in schools and university who do not wear head scarfs or adhere to restrictive dress codes. 

This policy announcement from the Iranian Ministry of Education is the latest effort by the government in its months-long systematic and often violent campaign to silence the voice of women and deny their fundamental human rights.   

Vital Voices is unequivocally allied with Iranian women and their partners in the international community who condemn these actions and are calling upon the Iranian government to immediately terminate its escalating assaults on the rights of women and girls. This includes upholding the rights of girls to equal access to education.   

Earlier this year, more than 1,000 schoolgirls were subjected to reported poisoning attacks, in what many students and parents believe is part of an organized effort to close schools at the center of anti-government protests.  

The poisoning followed the targeting of protesters, including children, killed by Iranian authorities last year during protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman activist who died in police custody after being detained for violating restrictions on head covering. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran is waging a sustained campaign to institutionalize gender discrimination, inequality and sexism through laws and regulations that create intentional inequalities between men and women, all while justifying their action by using the Islamic faith as a tool for oppression.  

In Iran, schools are segregated by gender. Girls are taught curriculums, including a selective focus on arts and humanities, meant to reinforce the belief that they are physically and cognitively weaker than boys, according to reports from women leaders on the ground in the Vital Voices Global Network. Boys, in turn, are taught science, technology, math, and sports to bolster the sense that they are physically stronger, and intellectually superior. These practices are meant to further enshrine the state’s version of sharia, or religious law.

Vital Voices has joined the global effort end gender apartheid in Iran and for women and girls who live under the oppressive regimes of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan. Visit to learn more.

Written by Noha Alkamcha of the Global Network & Regional Engagement Team at Vital Voices.