At a roundtable discussion “Women in Leadership, the Experience of the Iranian Resistance”, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), spoke about the struggle for freedom and equality for Iranian women.
She emphasised that women in Iran are rising up against the misogyny and tyranny they are faced with. She said that since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah, women leapt forward and started to participate in street demonstrations. Women, and the wider society, was looking forward for ways to progress. However, the ruling regime was looking the other way and was trying to pull the country backwards.
Faced with these rearward policies, women actively participated in the clashes that ensued. Rajavi called these women “brave, efficient and selfless”.
She added: “Women's role rapidly became more pronounced in the post-revolution developments in Iran. They became the pivotal force of the movement. Today, women hold key and leadership positions in the resistance movement. They make up more than 50 percent of the members of the Resistance's parliament-in-exile.”
Speaking about the role of women in the Iranian Resistance, Rajavi explained:
“First, the struggle of the women of this movement for equality has been deeply intertwined and connected to the broader struggle for freedom in Iran. Therefore, it has targeted the ruling dictatorship, which is a religious tyranny, while combating its forced religious edicts, misogyny and inhumane discriminations.”
“Second, they have waged a foundational struggle against objectification of women while defying the gender-based ideology that forms the central tenet of inequality.”
“Third, women have recognized their mission and mandate in leading this movement while discovering and subsequently implementing in practice the fact that the hegemonic role of women in this perseverance provides a liberating force and propeller.”
“Fourth, the pioneering women have linked their struggle to the efforts and struggle of the resistant and equality-seeking men of the movement. They see it as an important part of their responsibilities to support the men of the movement in the struggle against inequality and against patriarchal thinking and culture.”
Rajavi said that it is clear why the Iranian regime targets women more than every other group. She said it is because the emancipation of women is central to what society in Iran is calling for. The regime see the role of the woman strengthening since the revolution and it is afraid. It understands that the role of women is pivotal.
The regime also believes that the suppression of women is central to the suppression of society as a whole. It sees women as the enemy, but the real enemy is the clerical regime.
Rajavi said: “The mullahs of Iran and their fundamentalist disciples are not only the enemy of the people of Iran, but also the enemies of all Middle East nations and the entire world. In particular, in so far as it concerns women, fundamentalism targets and jeopardizes all the achievements that women have made to date. Therefore, confronting the Iranian regime should be the immediate goal of women's struggle all over the world. Women's international sisterhood and solidarity demands that they support the fight against the fundamentalist regime of Iran.”