NCRI Maryam Rajavi International Women's Day

International Women’s Day and Women in the Iranian Resistance

By NCRI-US Staff, March 6, 2024

The 2022 murder of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini at the hands of the Iranian regime sparked an uprising. It gained global attention to the plight of the Iranian people, particularly the women in Iran.

The world learned more about the systematic and institutionalized repression against women and how misogyny is embedded within the clerical system.

Iranian women, for years, have played a leading role in the Iranian resistance against the ruling theocracy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In Women: A Voice for Change, the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s President-Elect Maryam Rajavi wrote, “The essential characteristic of the fundamentalism ruling Iran is its misogynistic nature.” Thus, the regime directly targets women and their freedoms to secure control.

Mrs. Rajavi continues by stating that “as Iranian women confront religious fascism…liberated women of Western countries should rise up against conciliation.”

Female leadership is the key to abolishing Iran’s current regime and establishing a democratic, secular state to achieve freedom, peace, and prosperity. Mrs. Rajavi emphasizes that the “establishment of democracy without the active participation of women in political leadership is impossible.”

The NCRI Women’s Committee published an article by Fahimeh Samavatian titled “In Memory of My Kind Physics Teacher.” In 1972, Samavatian’s new physics teacher, Ashraf Rajavi, recognized the importance of teaching young women about the political circumstances of Iran. Instead of focusing exclusively on physics, her class was dedicated to teaching her students about “worldview” and “ideology.” Samavatian notes that introducing her classmates to free thinking “was the whole reason” why Rajavi decided to teach. Throughout the year, Rajavi taught ideas of philosophy, political issues within Iran’s government, and the horrific living conditions of those living in poverty. When the principal discovered the nature of Rajavi’s lessons, she was fired.

Later, Ashraf Rajavi emerged as the face of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). After graduating, Samavatian joined the ranks of the MEK to fight the regime, along with many of her classmates whom Ashraf Rajavi had taught. Indeed, women are at the forefront of change and are essential actors in the fight for democracy and freedom.

NCRI Women’s Committee’s article “Forough Farrokhzad, a poet for all ages” offers another example of women’s impact on political change. Being the first Iranian poet to discuss “the culture of women” in her writing, her poems depict “Iranian women’s untold suffering.” In 1956, Farrokhzad emphasized that her creation of poetry stemmed from her desire for “Iranian women to be free.” She used her pain living under the oppressive regime of the Shah to create impactful art. This article made it clear that Farrokhzad did not write for the purpose of entertainment. Rather, her poems were an act of political activism and resistance against the Shah’s monarchic dictatorship.

In the prominent freedom movements of Iran, women have played crucial roles. Mrs. Rajavi notes that this is because Iranian women have fought back against decades of relinquished freedoms and institutionalized misogyny. Mrs. Rajavi states, “We only learn about our real powers when we partake in a serious struggle.” Supporting those who are oppressed is not intended to be without a cost. Support includes advocating for basic human rights in regard to personal choice and for liberation from a cruel and unforgiving authoritarian regime. It is the responsibility of privileged women in Western society to amplify the Iranian women in their movements. Mrs. Rajavi motions to “call on the activists of the equality movement… [to] join hands and stand against the selfishness of governments and institutions” that are directly imposing or appeasing these oppressive structures. We must stand together to strengthen the voices of Iranian women advocating for the establishment of human rights in a democratic, free republic of Iran.

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