After a female Iranian soccer player's husband denied her permission to attend important games overseas, some men in Iran are taking pictures of themselves as a demonstration of their commitment to gender equality.
Niloufar Ardalan – who is also known as known as Lady Goal – was supposed to lead the Iranian women’s football team in the Asian Football Federation Women’s Football Championship in Malaysia, but her husband didn’t allow her to leave.
Under the current Iranian law, married women need approval from their husbands to get their passports renewed. Ardalan, 30, became a victim of this law when she asked her husband Mehdi Toutounchi, who himself is a prominent sports journalist, to sign important documents, only to get turned down.
But not all Iranian men share Toutounchi’s conservative point of view. In order to express their support of women’s rights, many are waiving the controversial provisions of the marriage contract, and have started an on online campaign calling for gender equality in Iran.
The images are being posted on a Facebook page, My Stealthy Freedom, which went viral last year because it featured Iranian women posting images of their uncovered hair. The social media account is run by a U.K.-based Iranian political journalist, Masih Alinejad.
Although Ardalan’s story prompted criticism for Iran’s conservative – often sexist – laws pertaining to married women, this campaign goes to show how there are people in the Islamic republic who do not agree with the hardline policies of their government and want to bring about a positive change in the country.
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