The Iranian government has banned a female doctor, who used to care for 180 to 200 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients daily, from working because her husband filed a complaint.
The doctor worked at Imam Hossein and Baghyatollah hospitals as an emergency room specialist, a vital job at any time, let alone during a pandemic, but her husband complained to the court in August that his wife’s job had disrupted his life and her duties towards the family.
This is despite the fact that she had chosen the emergency room specialty with the agreement of her husband and that she arranged her nights on call to coincide with his frequent business trips.
One can only imagine the disruption caused to the family lives of people who lost husbands and wives during the pandemic because there wasn’t a doctor to treat them.
At first, the court rejected this because their marriage certificate stated that the woman was in medical school, so he clearly didn’t mind that she’d be working in this field when he married her.
The court said that there was no evidence that the doctor worked in private hospitals and that, because of the pandemic, all medical staff was working overtime, so she was not doing anything wrong.
Then, the husband appealed the case and the Revision Court of Tehran Province rules that the doctor should only be allowed to work in the university hospital that hired her out of medical school.
The Revision Court made this ruling at a time when Iran has the highest per capita coronavirus death toll in the world (136,300 on Tuesday, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran) and when a serious shortage of medical staff due to illness, death, and not having enough staff in the first place is making matters worse.
This is because Article 1105 of Iran’s Civil Code states that “the family is headed by the husband and the woman may not leave home without the husband’s permission”, while Article 1117 says that “the husband can prevent his wife from engagement in any profession or industry that contradicts family interests or his own or the wife’s dignity”.
Of course, this is far from the first time an Iranian woman has been forced to give up her career on her husband’s say-so. In a famous case, eight Iranian athletes were prevented from competing at the Olympic games because their husbands refused to let them leave the country.