Iranian Women Activists Gain MomentumWomen's protests have been gaining momentum in Iran for the past several years, in part because of several outspoken female activists. They fight against Islamic laws that allow for the stoning of women and inequality with men.
Hadi Ghaemi of Human Rights Watch speaks with Jacki Lyden about The Iranian women's movement.
Iranian Women Activists Gain Momentum
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Women's protests have gained momentum in Iran over the past several years, in part because of extraordinary female activists.
They fight against Islamic laws that allow for the stoning of women and inequality in the areas of pay, child custody, divorce and inheritance.
Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, 43, is one of the most outspoken leaders in Iran. A diminutive, almost winsome blonde, Mohajer is no stranger to arrest: She was summoned and interrogated on the eve of an important protest last June.
Mohajer speaks with Jacki Lyden about the women's movement in Iran.
She and four other women were charged with acting against national security, propaganda against the state and giving interviews and disseminating falsehoods. Her trial is ongoing.
Currently in Washington, D.C., visiting her daughter, Mohajer knows that she might be arrested upon her return to Iran.
In the past, Iranian activists were prohibited from leaving the country. Now, they are encouraged to leave, but often with open court dates on their charges. When activists leave, they're re-arrested and jailed, sometimes for years.
It is a subtle way of eroding dissident leadership.
Still, Human Rights Watch reports that the pace of protests in Iran has quickened.
This piece was produced by Davar Ardalan.
Since this story aired, two women in solitary confinement, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr (profiled below), were released from Tehran's Evin Prison.
The women's movement has been gaining momentum in Iran, due to the activism of several key leaders, some of whom are profiled below. Reprinted with permission of Human Rights Watch.
Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh is the editor of the Zanan quarterly journal and a key member of the Campaign Against Stoning. She has also served as the director of the NGO Training Center. Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr (shown below), were among 33 Iranian women activists detained on March 4. They were protesting the trial of five women's rights activists, including Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, outside Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Those who were detained were blindfolded and deprived of sleep, according to Amnesty International.
Shadi Sadr is a lawyer, journalist and activist. She founded Zanan-e Iran, the first Web site dedicated to Iranian women activists. She has written numerous articles and several books on the subject of Iranian women and their legal rights. Sadr also helped to overturn the convictions of several women sentenced to execution.
Sussan Tahmasebi is an activist who works to strengthen civil society organizations. She serves on the managing board of the Volunteer Actors organization and has been the managing director for a number of campaigns and events for women. Among those events was the Beijing +10 Regional Conference in Tehran.
Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani is a journalist, activist and translator. She is an editor of the journals Jens-e Dovom and Fasl-e Zanan and was one of the founders of the Women's Cultural Center, established in 2001. She was also involved in the founding of the Feminist Tribune, a Web site dedicated to the women's movement.
Zeinab Peighambarzadeh was suspended from her university for two semesters as punishment for her involvement in student activist work. Two months ago, Peighambarzadeh was detained for her work on behalf of the Change for Equality Campaign; she was released after several days of interrogation by the Tehran security police.
Asieh Amini is a well-known poet, journalist and activist. She was one of the directors of Zanan-e Iran, the first Web site dedicated to the work of Iranian women's rights activists. Her human rights work against the death penalty and stoning in Iran has been instrumental in saving several young women and girls from execution.