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Women’s activism in Iran

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In recent months, several Iranian women have shared photos of themselves where they publicly removed their headscarves. A peaceful protest against the mandatory headscarf, one of the most visible symbols of the Islamic Republic. About thirty women were arrested for this action.

Tonight, we speak among others with the Iranian women’s rights activist Mansoureh Shojaee and sociologist Kathy Davis about women’s activism in Iran and the image that exists in the West. Can the Iranian women’s movement use support from outside? And if so, what should that support look like?

About the speakers

  • Mansoureh Shojaee is a researcher and Iranian women’s activist. She is the driving force behind the exhibition From Evin, With Love. In the nineties Mansoureh set up the Women’s Cultural Center, which deals with opinion forming, analysis and documentation of women’s issues in Iran. She has also set up the ‘One Million Signatures Campaign’, an attempt to collect a million signatures for equal rights for women.
  • Kathy Davis is a senior researcher at the Institute of History and Culture at the University of Utrecht. She is engaged in feminist science about the female body and transnational feminism. Her most recent book ‘The making of our bodies, Ourselves: How Feminism Travels across borders’.
  • Nils Mollema is country a expert on Iran at Amnesty International Netherlands.
  • Carolyn Edgerton is a former prosecutor at the Yugoslavia Tribunal and has extensive experience in investigating and prosecuting international crimes.
  • Halleh Ghorashi. Professor of Diversity & Integration and director at the Department of Sociology at VU Amsterdam.
  • The moderator is Eefje Blankevoort. Historian and journalist. She lived in Iran for a long time and in 2007 she published her book about the country, Stiekem kan hier alles. She recently traveled back for a new edition of this book.

About this program

This program is the closure of the exhibition From Evin, With Love, which can be seen in our house until 7 April. ‘From Evin, With Love’ displays hand work of imprisoned Iranian women activists from the Evin prison. These women are human rights defenders, lawyers, local politicians, cartoonists and students, but also ordinary citizens and mothers who stood up for their rights. For this reason, they have been arrested by the Iranian authorities.

Photo from Stealthy Freedom.

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