Iranian Women’s Role In Iran Protests

Iranian women have always played a major role in the history of revolutions throughout the world, and they are in some way a productive force of a society.

Thousands of citizens were arrested across the country during late December uprising in Iran, whereof at least 500 women.

Iranian women have played a major role in Iran’s movements, especially in the past century.

Many women in Iran’s history have been the leading women’s movements such as Táhirih, also called Qurratu l-ʿAyn. She was an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí faith in Iran. “You can kill me soon, whenever you want. But you can not stop the freedom struggle for women”, this is the last sentence attributed to her. She was one of the first Gender Equality Movement pioneers in Iran. The Qajar government executed Táhirih by Islamic priest order on 13 October 1852, when she was 35 years old.

Farokhroo Parsa was another female pioneer who was executed by firing squad on 8 May 1980 after the revolutionists came to power in Iran, on religious-revolutionary charges. She was the first female cabinet minister of an Iranian government before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

After the Islamic revolution in Iran, Iranian-women movement entered a new phase as Mullahs have never tolerated gender equality. The women community of Iran were forced to wear veil [Islamic Dress], and banned from participating in high-position of the government. They also banned from stadiums. Many Iranian women wore Western-style outfits [miniskirts and short-sleeved tops], but these all changed when Mullahs came to power.

Thousands of Iranian women went out to protest against forced-hijab in the early 80s. The so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani was among those Mullahs who took stance in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini and radical Islamists for the new Islamic government’s compulsory hijab ruling. Rouhani is one of the influential Mullahs who played major role in compulsory Hijab implementation. “I was entrusted with the task of compulsory wearing hijab in army departments”, according to Rouhani’s Memoir, Vol. 1.

Womens Role in Iran Protests ICBPS Kaveh Taheri 1
Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979, Photo by Hengameh Golestan

Nevertheless, women have never given up their struggle because they are one of the major parts of society. According to the state statistics, nearly half of the 80 million people in Iran are women, which can be considered as a huge potential for the development of society, which is ignored by Mullahs.

On June 12th of 2006, many women’s rights activists along with women were gathered in a protest against gender discrimination in Islamic regime rules. Dozens of peaceful demonstrators were arrested after being severely attacked by anti-riot forces. The attack on the rally which was ordered by senior government officials occurred during the first presidential period of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The rally took place on June 12 just a few days before the ninth presidential election which was peacefully ended without police interference. Afterwards, the “June 12” day among women’s rights activists was called “Women’s Solidarity Day” which initiated the “One Million Signatures Campaign”. There were written on the banners demanding “cancellation the rules of polygamy”, “equality of women’s and men’s rights in divorce”, and “custody and guardianship of children”. The goal of the campaign was to collect at least one million signatures to support the elimination of legal discrimination against women.

Iranian Womens Role In Iran Protests ICBPS
Neda Agha-Soltan

Thousands of women went out to the streets across the country during 2009 uprising, hundreds of them were arrested and tortured and dozens were directly shot.

Neda Agha-Soltan is one of the Iranian women whose death drew worldwide attention after she was directly shot to death during the Green Movement in 2009.

The 31-year-old brave Iranian woman who took off her hijab [Islamic Dress] to protest is another pioneer of the movement. Vida Movahed stood up on a pillar box, took off her hijab and waved it as a sombre. She has been missed after the silent protest at Enghelab avenue, Tehran in late December.

In January 2018, the imprisoned activists Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Atena Daemi were reportedly exiled to the notorious Gharchak prison after being severely beaten by wardens at Evin prison; report their relatives. The barbaric Islamic regime holds 7 years in prison for Atena and 6 years imprisonment for Golrokh because of their peaceful activism. Dozens of Iranian women-rights and human rights activists are currently in Iran’s jails.

White Wednesdays are one of the campaigns where women send pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest, by using the hashtag #WhiteWednesdays.

But in fact, those women who chant slogans against the tyrannical regime in Iran’s streets or protest against the systematic gender-based discrimination of the Islamic regime in the social networks are the heroes and the myths of the movements. Those women who we never heard their names, and their identities will never be written in the news or books. They are the superheroes.

Iranian women will soon celebrate freedom alongside men ın the streets. It’s not too late.

The article was originally published on Medium.Com by Kaveh Taheri on Jan 25, 2018

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