March 8th, Commemoration of An Ongoing Struggle in Iran

Iran is in a dangerous situation where tension-causing policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as those of a few foreign governments threaten the peace and well-being of the Iranian people. Perpetuation of current conditions expands the sprawling shadow of war over our country, militarizes the social atmosphere, and exposes the population – and especially women – to increased discrimination, violence, poverty, and misery.

Activists of the women’s rights movement have continuously criticized crisis-invoking acts and have emphasized that the means to reduction of tension and lasting peace in the region lies in respecting the equal rights of citizens regardless of their religion, gender or sexual orientation, ending repression, expanding civil and political participation of women, inclusion of women in prevention of ever increasing violence, and engaging different groups, guilds, ethnicities and nationalities in key political and national decisions.

This year we commemorate March 8th at a time when Iranian women from every class and strata continue to face discrimination and inequality. Despite their significant capabilities in various scientific, social, economic and political fields, women have been shut out of major decision making processes due to extensive gender discrimination and in all aspects of life women are denied equal freedoms and rights, and their respect and dignity is undermined.

 

Furthermore, the year ahead is worrisome to all of us. Iran is in a dangerous situation where tension-causing policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as those of a few foreign governments threaten the peace and well-being of the Iranian people. Perpetuation of current conditions expands the sprawling shadow of war over our country, militarizes the social atmosphere, and exposes the population – and especially women – to increased discrimination, violence, poverty, and misery.

 

Activists of the women’s rights movement have continuously criticized crisis-invoking acts and have emphasized that the means to reduction of tension and lasting peace in the region lies in respecting the equal rights of citizens regardless of their religion, gender or sexual orientation, ending repression, expanding civil and political participation of women, inclusion of women in prevention of ever increasing violence, and engaging different groups, guilds, ethnicities and nationalities in key political and national decisions. Unfortunately, in spite of the demands in society, there is no outlook for the equal engagement of women in social and political affairs and to reduce tensions. Instead the government is restricting women’s participation even more through expanding discriminatory regulations such as university admission limits for female applicants, depriving women of equal employment and social opportunities, more strict controlling of women’s bodies and clothing, restricting personal, social, and cultural freedoms, arrest and punishment of women activists (for civil, political, ethnic and women’s rights), threats and unofficial summons of activists and their families, and prevention of collective action by women.

 

On the verge of International Women’s Day (March 8th) this year, nearly 2 million women heads of households struggle with poverty and unemployment, nearly 700,000 girls under the age of 18 were forced into marriage, 7000 women inmates live with the least of social and civil rights, and more than 40 women activists are in prison merely for expressing their opinions, demanding rights, or objecting discrimination.

 

As supporters of freedom and gender equality in Iran, we also stand in solidarity with other women in the middle east and we commend their struggle for equal rights. We believe that women’s solidarity, alliance and cooperation in local and international relations can alleviate tension, sustain peace, and build more humane relationships around the world.

 

As a way out of the current crisis threatening our country, we urge the Iranian government to respect international laws, and we urge the foreign governments to adopt peaceful methods and we condemn military provocations and those economic sanctions which directly cause crisis in livelihood of Iranian citizens as a solution to the nuclear crisis. We wish to have friendly and respectful relationships with nations around the world.

 

We call for the release of all prisoners of conscience including women and we demand that the equal rights of all other women inmates be respected.

 

We demand elimination of all gender discrimination in the laws and will continue our struggle until we build a society based on equal rights for all humans, freedom, and gender equality.

 

– signed: A number of supporters and activists of the Iranian women’s rights movement

 

 

 

Since Women’s rights activists in Iran can not demonstrate or celebrate this day on the streets, they have made a number of videos for peace which may be viewed at this link : http://1million4equality.info/spip.php?article9323

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply