By Mahdavi Nasim

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That was Margaret Mead’s conclusion after a lifetime of observing very diverse cultures around the world.

This is the story of diligent women’s rights activist, is a litany of achievements against tremendous odds, of ingenious strategies and outrageous tactics used to outwit opponents and make the most of limited resources. It’s a dramatic tale, filled with great women facing down incredible obstacles to win that most basic civil right in Iran.

There is no consensus as to exactly when the contemporary women’s movement in Iran first emerged, but it is generally understood that demands for gender equality stretch back at least to the Constitutional Revolution of 1910.

During the Constitutional Revolution, 20 of the women who had defied the dominant restrictive traditions and participated in the battle, died in the scene. Zeinab Pasha, one of the progressive women of Tabriz in those days, encouraged the people of Tabriz to rise up against the despots. She told them, "If you men do not have the guts to bring the despots to justice, we will fight the oppressors in your stead."

In the 1891 Tobacco Protest, women's staunch resistance forced the shah to withdraw the concessions he had granted to the British. In the starvation era, women attacked wheat warehouses and divided the wheat among the hungry.

In the course of the anti-monarchic revolution, women's participation in the Iranian people's democratic struggles reached new peaks. In February 1979, the nation witnessed bravery of women in taking over the Shah's military bases and centers of repression

But Since the revolution in 1979, discriminatory laws [have been] imposed on women. The question was wether the revolution was indeed for Islam or rather to rob women of their right.  Shortly after the 1979 revolution there was a violent crackdown by the Islamic Republic that targeted nonviolent protests against the compulsory wearing of the hajib and other facets of Islamic law, such as polygamy and stoning that were widely viewed as intolerably oppressive to women.

In the 2.5 years after the revolution, dozens of girls supporting the opposition People's Mojahedin movement were killed or wounded in attacks by government-backed club wielders and plainclothes. 

In this way, women quickly learned of the misogynous nature of the mullahs and started engaging in social and political activities to protect their rights. The movement rapidly spread among the masses of people but the religious fascist regime also stepped up its repression of women.

However, over time a generation of women came together to affect the biggest changes in the women’s history in Iran.

They worked very deliberately to create a better world, and they succeeded hugely.

Today, young women proudly calling themselves “Mojahed” are confronting these and other thorny issues. They are samples of women how enjoy of their personal freedoms and expanded opportunities women have won over the last 150 years. But it should be keep in mind that Women will have the opportunity to develop their unique skills and talents and pursue their dreams.

This has been Mojahed women’s goal – Gaining women human status - for the past 39 years. At the Iranian Women's History struggle, there is a belief among them that knowing the history gives the strength and inspiration to persist against all odds, and to triumph

the full speech of Maryam Rajavi in International Women’s Day 2017

Beside women the mane eagerly and passionately defended the cause of women's equality everywhere and endorsed their leadership. They created new values and ethics based on honesty, self-sacrifice, and giving priority to others. They firmly rejected the outlook that sees women as mere commodities. Such relations thus led to the fostering of far greater solidarity among men themselves.  Therefore, women's equal participation in leadership is not a process that could be realized without men’s emancipation.

It must be stressed that such equality is not confined to legal and political equality or in equal opportunities. Rather, it requires the enhancement of human solidarity where women take ownership of their own fate and men who believe in the cause of equality develop a productive, creative and active character in themselves

What could be the impact of this action by the Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) women, and men?

Iranian women are routinely attacked by the ‘morality police’ for being improperly veiled or riding motorbikes, they are discriminated against in terms of education and employment, and female political prisoners are routinely raped in prison.

Women have proven their effective and growing role in the struggle against the mullahs' religious tyranny, for example in the scenes of confrontation with the Revolutionary Guards, in their unprecedented resistance in the regime's torture chambers and dungeons, through their presence in the ranks of anti-regime demonstrations, in organizing the teachers and workers' protests and protests by other social strata, in organizing and leading an international social and political movement against the religious fascism ruling Iran

It is with such great backing of awareness and faith, sacrifice and selflessness, courage and heroism that today, the women of the Iranian Resistance are leading the movement and have turned into the force for change. A force that has not been crushed despite 38 years of brutal subjugation, but has grown stronger and more determined. And it will write and guarantee the future of a free Iran.

A glance over this glorious struggle shows that Iranian women enjoy a strong historical backing. They have passed through many ups and downs before reaching this point. It is in the evolutionary continuation of this path that they would certainly turn the page of history in their homeland and establish freedom, justice, and equality after overthrowing the ruling clerical dictatorship.

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