|Iranian women’s movement fighting and thriving|
|Written by Melissa Castor, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 23 September 2009 21:06|
While to some the Iranian women’s movement might never cross their minds, to ISU International Studies Seminar guest speaker Valentine M. Moghadam, it is the current subject of her studies.
Moghadam, Purdue University professor of sociology and director of women’s studies, spoke to students about her knowledge on the Iranian women’s movement.
Moghadam began with a brief history of the Iranian women’s movement. In the aftermath of the Iran election in the late 70s, many protests broke out and there was much turmoil in the country.
Moghadam said, “The 1980s were probably the worst decade that my generation and probably my parents’ generation remember. It was very troubled and dark … and especially bad for women. It was increasingly difficult for them to find jobs.”
The 1979 women’s rights protest in Tehran was one of these protests. However, the protest did not end as planned.
Moghadam said, “Women were saying something is not quite right. But it was the first and last time they protested.”
At least the women’s movement did not protest again until much later, according to Moghadam. It was not until the 1990s that the women’s movement began to arise once again. The Iran-Iraq war had ended and the country saw new leadership. This brought a period of liberation, both socially and culturally.
“[It was] recognized as almost a golden age … a very lively press emerged for example … including a feminist press,” Moghadam said.
Through the student protests of the late 90s the women’s movement began to take root once more. But as with the women’s protest of the late 70s, this protest also ended in disaster.
Moghadam said, “They were rather violently crushed. The violent attack was really quite horrific.”
In spite of the set back, the women’s movement continued to grow and in June of 2005 they held their first protest since 1979. The protest was a success. However, the following year they held another protest that ended in an attack from the police.
According to Moghadam, this was a wake up call to the movement and so they decided to change tactics. The movement led two major campaigns: The first was the “one million signatures” campaign and the second was the “end stoning forever” campaign. Today the movement is flourishing, although they still have much social change to fight for.
“Women are just dong excellently. We have now a very dynamic women’s movement … and they’re very popular. Their campaign resonates with the public …,” Moghadam said. In fact, Moghadam said, “The feminist movement is not just comprised of women … a lot of guys have attached themselves to the movement.”
Kelly Donnellan, women’s and gender studies graduate assistant said, “I think that feminism in the Middle East gets overlooked. I think a lot of people don’t know what’s going on … It’s interesting because it’s a different concept.”