AFP: An Iranian woman lawmaker is backing the removal of
the concept of gender equality from a state development plan
in order to prevent the "bullying" of men, the state news
agency IRNA reported on Saturday.
"Bringing up the issue of gender justice is a case of bullying men," the female deputy, Eshrat Shayeghi told the agency. AFP

TEHRAN - An Iranian woman lawmaker is backing the removal of the concept of gender equality from a state development plan in order to prevent the "bullying" of men, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

"Bringing up the issue of gender justice is a case of bullying men," the female deputy, Eshrat Shayeghi told the agency.

She said she was supporting a decision by the conservative-dominated parliament to delete a phrase in the 'Fourth Five-Year Development Plan' (2005-2010), which aimed at considering equal training and employment opportunities for women as men.

The preceding reformist parliament had given the go-ahead to the "gender justice" concept in the bill but it was subsequently rejected by the conservative legislation watchdog body the Guardians Council.

The new parliament removed the phrase in mid-August to follow the Guardians Council's call.

"If men are in the habit of beating, women are guilty of talking back," Shayeghi said.

"If the gender justice is brought up, men can object to payment of the household expenses (nafagheh) -- given under Islamic law to housewives -- as a sort of abuse and violence against men."

Out of 11 female MPs in the current parliament, only one had spoken out against the removal of the phrase, IRNA reported.

Iranian women face a number of legal restrictions in Iran's male-dominated society. They receive half of the inheritance and blood money given to men, and they are also not allowed to be court judges. If they are married, a woman needs her husband's permission to travel abroad.