Akbar Ganji in the Boston Review:
Iran’s political-legal system is founded on apartheid, on unjust and untenable discrimination among members of society. Social opportunities and privileges are not distributed on the basis of merit, but according to such indefensible criteria as race, religion, and allegiance to the political regime. While some are deprived of certain basic human rights and the chance to benefit from their talents and efforts, others are afforded “special rights.” They benefit handsomely from coveted social opportunities and privileges. One of the most glaring fault lines of this apartheid system is gender. In Iran, women suffer every injustice and deprivation endured by Iranian men, and gender injustice as well.
Unfortunately, gender apartheid has not drawn as much outrage around the world as racial apartheid has. The international community was rightly united in its opposition to the regime in South Africa that denied blacks equal rights with whites, and it rose up to topple that system. But it has voiced little opposition to many societies in which the rights of women are systematically trampled upon. Under the guise of cultural pluralism, or respect for religious freedom, some clerical leaders have even rationalized gender apartheid.