Women In Iran Aren’t Just Fighting For Themselves  — Their Protests Are For Women Everywhere

Photo: Jason Grant/Shutterstock

On September 16, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in Tehran, Iran, while being detained by police. 

In the aftermath of her suspicious death, protests have erupted across the nation.

Amini had been arrested by the Iranian “morality police” for failing to properly secure her hijab.

Iran’s hijab law makes it a crime for women to be seen in public without covering their hair and wearing modest Islamic clothing.

The government claims that the young woman died from a pre-existing heart condition, but the Iranian citizens believe she was beaten to death.

Since Mahsa’s death, anti-regime protests have started in the capital and across Western Iran.

Woman have defiantly removed their hijabs and chanted, “death to the dictator” in reference to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Dozens of protestors have been killed and hundreds arrested in the violent confrontations that have taken place since, but the women of Iran are not backing down, determined to finally see themselves free of the oppression that has long plagued them.

But, Iranian women are not just fighting for themselves — their fight is for women everywhere.

Across the globe, women are being denied freedom.

While Muslim women in Iran are burning their hijabs, Muslim women in France are fighting for their right to wear one.

In the US, women are being denied control over their reproductive health. 

All these protests and fights are about choice, and for women in Iran and across the globe, the loss and denial of choice could be life-threatening.

The domination of and violence against Iranian women is not new.

They have faced over 40 years of oppression by the patriarchal government, and they have had enough.

Before the current regime came into power in 1979, women of Iran had access to higher education, prestigious careers with equal pay, reproductive rights, and they could vote and hold political office.

Women had the right to choose what clothing they wore and created systemic change through activism.

They even passed a Family Protection Law eliminating polygamy and mandating more equitable marriages.

That all changed in 1979 when the Family Protection Law was overturned by Khamenei.

The Iranian women did not take the news lying down — for three days, the determined women marched in protest, compelling the Supreme Leader to back down.

The victory was short-lived because, by 1980, Khamenei had grown his political power, mandated veiling for women, and discharged all the female judges in the country.

Despite the protests from the Iranian women, by 1983, compulsory veiling was law, and they had been stripped of the rights they fought so hard for.

Over the next several decades, women saw their rights to autonomy further diminished.

The Islamic Republic placed restrictions on their marriage, divorce, and child custody rights.

The age a girl could legally marry was reduced to 9, then to 13, women required the authorization of a male guardian to leave the country, anyone that objected was arrested or worse, and many Iranian feminists went into voluntary exile, choosing to fight the civil rights battle from afar.

This story was originally shared on YourTango. Read more

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