Following the 1979 revolution, many previous reforms were annulled and women's rights greatly restricted. The government lowered the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13 in 1979 and then to nine in 1982. In 2002, the marriage age was raised back to 13, but girls as young as nine could still be married off with the permission of their father or male guardian and a judge. Muslim women could not marry non-Muslim men while Muslim men could marry any faith and also have up to four wives. Women had to receive permission from a male guardian to get married and forfeit child custody if she remarried after divorce. Despite movement towards reform, there was an ongoing struggle between conservative Islamic law and efforts made by feminists and activists towards gender equality.
In Iran, mothers faced legal and social challenges due to conservative Islamic law. This included lowering the marriage age, restricting divorce and abortion access (with medical providers risking the death penalty), and awarding custody to fathers after the child is seven. These restrictions demonstrated how motherhood has been heavily limited in Iran by patriarchal norms and laws passed by authorities.
In Iran, the right of a woman to divorce her husband has long been a contentious issue. When the Islamic Republic was established in 1979, women were only able to get a divorce through the courts and with a judge's order. In 2002, parliament amended the law to allow for women to obtain a divorce if their husband was imprisoned, mentally ill, physically abusive or an addict. However, men still retained the power to end marriages verbally and a divorced woman cannot keep child custody if she remarries—even if her husband died.