East Kurdistan women's association KJAR launches campaign against child marriage

The East Kurdistan women's association KJAR has launched a campaign against the marriage of girls in Iran with the slogan 'Child marriage is femicide'.

The Community of Free Women of Eastern Kurdistan (Komalgeha Jinên Azad ên Rojhilatê Kurdistan, KJAR) has launched a campaign against child marriage in Iran. As the women's association announced, the initiative came about as part of the campaigns against femicide and executions of women that have been going on since the beginning of the year.

Child marriages are legal in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to Section 1014 of the Iranian Civil Code, which is based on Islamic law, girls can be married from the age of 13 and boys from the age of 15. In addition, parents of girls under the age of 13 can have a judge confirm that their daughter is “ready for marriage”. Even girls at the age of seven or eight can legally be married off by their parents.

Every year there are 30,000 “child brides” under the age of 14

According to the Iranian Vice President for Women and Families, Masoumeh Ebtekar, at least 30,000 girls under the age of 14 are married in Iran every year. Women's and children's rights organizations have been trying to ban child marriages for years. So far this has failed due to the resistance of the clergy and the conservative parties in parliament. The regime even promotes child marriage with cheap marriage loans to make it easier to “start a family”. As a result, marriages of minors are increasing sharply, especially in rural and far poorer areas.

KJAR: Clergy want to maintain patriarchal power dynamics

The KJAR sees the ongoing legality of child marriage in Iran, among other things, as the intention to minimize the freedom of decision-making and action of girls and women and to maintain the patriarchal dynamic of power. In Iran there are no groups that develop more dynamically than those of women and young people. Women in particular are the ones who most fuel change and drive social progress. In contrast, the regime’s mentality, which is characterized by patriarchal conditions of oppression, wants to hold on to the treatment of women as inferior creatures and to slow them down in order to maintain the power of the clergy.

Resistance to oppressive patriarchal mentality

"Such a patriarchal view is diametrically opposed to our understanding of equality," says the KJAR. “Our movement fights against this prevailing mentality that puts the very existence of society at risk on a daily basis. We have already launched a campaign under the slogan 'It's time to defend life against femicide and execution'. As part of our activities, we have met with many different women's and civil rights organizations, carried out educational work and taken other extensive measures,” explained KJAR. Now the campaign “Child marriage is femicide” has been launched. “This is a further step against the patriarchal system and the racist domination of the Iranian state. We will now meet again with society, stimulate the fighting spirit of women and resist the oppressive mentality of the patriarchy."