Iran: Women fight for equality

Iranian women were not only the first victims of the Islamic revolution, they were also the first ones to take up the fight.

Publisert: 2009-10-09

Parvin Ardalan is a leading woman´s rights activist, writer and journalist from Iran. She was awarded the Olof Palme Prize in 2007 for her struggle for equal rights for men and women, but was denied to leave the country. One and a half year later she was finally able to go to Sweden to receive the prize. On the 6th of October she attended a conference about international solidarity within the feminist movement in Stockholm. This is the speech she held:

It’s my pleasure of being here to explain about what women activist in Iran do and to share our experiences in this way. Of course we learn from each other, for instances in One million signature campaign we learned from our sisters in Morocco. And then Afghani sisters have learned from us, and it continues. I would like to start to talk about some methods used by women activists in Iran: Horizontal working, decentralisation of power, and consciousness rising.

Horizontal working

In societies like Iran the hierarchical way of working and dividing responsibilities is not limited to political and governmental institutions.

This character has a fundamental impact even on personal relationships and sometimes even grassroot organisations that intend to work differently.

Therefore, we in different women groups and organisations should test our behaviours, thinking and practices frequently.

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For example in our different activities among women activists in Iran we observed how many of us were practicing what we were challenging. We took advantage of the different advantages we had.

For instance one used her age and experiences, another used her education level, a third one used her urban and middle class position and so on. That is why we needed to develop workshops and group discussions in order to discuss these issues constantly.

Decentralisation of power

By avoiding accumulating (put together) all the information, important connections, experiences to one or few people, we had two intentions:

1.We help each other to grow and gain new skills

2. We will also reduce our weakness, because when everything is dependent on one or a few people, everything will also disappear suddenly when that person disappear for any reason, especially in our unsecure society.

That is why overlapping of experiences and decentralisation of power always come together. By advocating for shared responsibilities we try to …

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