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The Unintended Consequences of Equality within Difference

Essays and Interviews 22.1
Minoo Moallem

In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and with the circula- tion of the liberal discourse of equality by both women’s groups and human rights advocates that participated in the Iranian revolution, the newly formed Islamic Republic distinguished itself by claiming that women under the Islamic constitution and jurisprudence are not necessarily unequal to men, but rather that their equality is based on the Islamic recognition of their difference. The discourse of equality within difference has clearly created space for debate and discussion with regard to women and gender issues in the context of the Iranian Parliament—a development that brings different and competing interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence to the surface.