Peter Singer writes of Iranian universities banning women from certain courses, 'ranging from engineering, nuclear physics, and computer science to English literature, archaeology, and business'. In this connection he says:
Some claim that the ideal of sexual equality represents a particular cultural viewpoint, and that we Westerners should not seek to impose our values on other cultures. It is true that Islamic texts assert in various ways the superiority of men to women. But the same can be said of Jewish and Christian texts; and the right to education, without discrimination, is guaranteed in several international declarations and covenants, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which almost all countries, including Iran, have agreed.
Further on Singer notes that there aren't 'widespread boycotts of Iran's universities' - an observation relevant to another issue that has been discussed on this blog - and that we take sexual discrimination less seriously than we take racial discrimination. A clear mark of this fact is to be seen in the different ways in which apartheid, as a crime against humanity, and systemic and legally sanctioned gender discrimination are treated under international law.
Also apropos here is this column in the LA Times on the concerns of women's rights organizations and others in Egypt about the current prospects for women's rights and religious equality in that country.