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Iranian women activists step up their efforts


Source: Feminist School

Women activists in Iran have been taking advantage of the openness created due to the upcoming presidential elections. In particular, they have stepped up their efforts to make the general public aware about their demands for equal rights.

June 12 : In Other Words
Photos by : Maryam Majd

Independent women's movement make their presence felt for the forthcoming election.

Thursday June 4, 2009: Tajrish square, Emamzadeh Saleh ( a holy shrine in north of Tehran) and the memorable Tajrish Bazaar was host to the volunteer members of "coalition of women's Movement." These women who were filled with enthusiasm were demanding equal rights for women along with an independent presence in the electoral space. Their loud voices of "We Vote for Women's Demands" were hard to ignore.

Step by Step with the Women Coalition Movement
Visual report by Saba Vasefi & Ali Abdi

On the threshold of June 12, anniversary of "Iranian women's solidarity," the coalition activists have stepped up their activities in the past month, making use of the electoral environment. This has resulted in increased exposure of the women's demands out in the open.

The Women's Movement Coalition in Action; Step by Step
Translated by the Women's Coalition translation team

Feminist School: Based on the initiative of some members and active groups of the Iranian Women's Coalition, in only one day, on May 23rd, 3000 of the coalition's informational brochures were handed out to Tehran's residents.

Upon the coordination of the Women's Movement Coalition, it was decided to proceed according to the general agreement of "intelligently seizing the moments and chances of the momentary election campaign", and to use the extensive gathering of the reformist forces on this occasion - held in Azadi stadium - to increase awareness, state the basic electoral demands of the Coalition, hold face to face talks and hand out the prepared brochures among the -for the most part - fiery young participants.

This successful and empowering action, together with the effective workshops held in different towns and cities, as well as the responsible and active presence of Coalition members in the society and their determination in stating and restating our demands wherever and whenever possible, gives strength to the hope, that this Coalition of women is slowly giving form to a new style of independent group effort in our country's civil society.

Within the last two weeks, members of the Coalition have held workshops on the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (CEDAW) in different cities, such as Esfahan and Shiraz.

Furthermore, meetings were held in various parts of the country explaining the equality seeking demands of the Women's Coalition.

The birth of the "Coalition of Iranian Women Stating Electoral Demands", was announced on March 25th, in a press conference, where speeches were made by Simin Behbahani, Shirin Ebadi, Azam Taleghani, Elahe Kolai, Shahla Lahiji, Farzaneh Taheri and Shahla Ezazi.

Thereafter, the initial Statement of the Coalition was made public.

This document was followed by the Coalition's informational brochure titled: "The Demands of the Women from the Future President", as well as the second Statement by the Coalition's Public Relations Committee asking that the affirmed candidates object to the dismissal of the female candidates for presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Concurrently, numerous articles have been penned by Coalition members, on our electoral demands, and also reasoning the choice and mode of our current campaign and its actions.

On the other hand, with the aim of monitoring the speeches and promises made by the presidential candidates, the reproduction and distribution of the Coalition's new bulletin has been among the other activities of the Coalition, serving to bring more transparency to the candidates' words concerning the rights and demands of women.

The great number of interviews given by members of the Coalition, which aims to bring our common message to the general public, is among the multifaceted activities of the Coalition.

As long as the current momentum stays at course, and in the absence of any unforeseeable occurrences, the Women's Coalition will undoubtedly be able to establish the independent role and presence of the women's movement in the social and political development of the country.

It is noteworthy, that in addition to the Women's Coalition, others - among them "Mothers For Peace", book publishers, student groups, artists and the "Syndicate of Tehran & Suburbs Bus Company" - have also stated their election demands and posed their related questions to the presidential candidates.

Thus, the initial steady step taken by the Coalition in enabling the first independent presence of the women's movement on the election campaign's scene is bearing fruit, thanks to the efforts invested by each and every one of its members. Further steps may now be contemplated.

Original text, photos and other links in Farsi is available here

Related Article: Coalition Press Conference, April 25, 2009


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