Women’s Movement Activists Issue Statement for International Women’s Day
Iranian women’s movement activists have issued a statement in observance of International Women’s Day March 8th, in which they criticize policies designed to repress and marginalize women’s demands over the last 40 years. The statement points to a multitude of demands articulated by the women’s movement over years, which have gone largely unanswered and goes on to say that on March 8 this year women should have the right to be in the public space, in their cities, in the streets and to make the public space their own. In the statement the activists have announced their support for any individual or collective action intent on observing or honoring International Women’s Day. The translated statement follows:
We will Not Stay at Home
March 8th is our day-a day when thousands of streets, in thousands of cities across the world, surrender to the marching steps of women. In one street there is joy and celebration, in another there are the clenched fists of women, all of this will forever be stamped onto the memory of our cities. Women the world over, continue to fight for the most basic of rights. March 8th is a day for women to remember and take notice of the difficult road toward achieving an equal world.
This year on the 8th of March, we Iranian women, no longer know which of our rightful demands unjustly denied, we should bellow. From the multitude of demands, that have gone unheard, repressed and marginalized for 40 years, which should we press for?
Should we speak of our exclusion and marginalization in the public space, or should we speak of our most basic right to choose our own dress, denied? Should we speak of discriminatory laws or of an official culture, which while praising motherhood, had reduced women to baby making and child rearing machines? Should we speak of an employment sector in which women have no place, or should we talk of a political system that has no place for women or women friendly policies? Starting in March of 1979 all the way through March 2018, we have each year in some form or fashion voiced our demands and criticized the status quo.
While our critique of the status quo and our struggles for rights, have been successful in transforming society and changing the beliefs of the public, official political structures have resisted the most basic of our demands, so much so that today, in order for us to realize even the most basic of rights, we have to pay a hefty and unjust price.
Today on the occasion of International Women’s Day we only have one demand: We want to be able to leave our homes on this one day out of an entire year and to remain in the streets. After all, these are the same streets in which we have struggled for our rights. We have had a revolution in these same streets. We have been bombed in these same streets. We have demanded our rights and have faced crackdowns and repression in these streets. We have had acid thrown on our faces and for the crime of not observing proper hejab we have been arrested in these same streets. We have stood atop platforms in these streets and have gone to prison with broken bones as a result. We have passed through these same streets to go to sports stadiums only to end up in detention centers…We women live in these cities and we want to spend this day, our day, in the streets of our cities.
We a group of women’s movement activists wish to express our support for any and every individual and group action intent on observing International Women’s day, on Thursday March 8th.
On this one day, out of an entire year, we as women of this country, should be able to make these cities our own, stay in the streets, and return to our homes at days end, without having our bones crushed.