Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, gave an impassioned speech at the headquarters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) in Ashraf 3 earlier this year in support of women’s progress in the resistance movement.
In our previous pieces, we focused on Maryam Rajavi’s speech about the key discriminations against women and Iranian women’s widespread participation in the struggle against the two dictatorships. Here, we will talk about how the Iranian Resistance has been dedicated to gender equality since the start.
Maryam Rajavi explained how just two months after regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini took power in 1979, the MEK issued a 15-point declaration about their expectations from the new regime, including a need “to respect full political and social rights of women” and “equal pay” for female workers.
Then, a few months later, when Maryam Rajavi’s husband and leader of the Iranian Resistance Massoud Rajavi ran for election he offered a comprehensive plan, which included gender equality, as well as several other points that were embraced by women including freedom of parties, freedom of opinion, and freedom of the press. Khomeini, terrified by this plan, removed Massoud Rajavi from the list of candidates.
Maryam Rajavi said: “In such a tortuous struggle, there was a generation of young women and girls who became increasingly informed every day and widely participated in the anti-fundamentalist struggle and in the fight for freedom and equality. One of the most important chapters in this brilliant struggle were young women, young teenagers who waged the strongest resistance against the revolutionary guards and torturers. Among them were heroines like Homeira Eshraq, Zahra and Kobra Ebrahimian and Sorayya Abolfathi. Their names are etched in the history of women’s struggle forever.”
She said that those women became involved in politics because they believed in Massoud and his fight for freedom. They have inspired other young women who are now joining the resistance units, leading the fight against the Iranian mullahs.
Maryam Rajavi said: “They have opened their way in the overall struggle by fighting two horrific ideologies. One of them is the ideology of gender discrimination, and the other the ideology of negative individuality. I deliberately use the word negative, to distinguish between this subjugating ideology and evolutionary or positive individuality, which leads to the spiritual growth of human beings.”
She explained that these women have shouldered a heavy responsibility, but have remained firm to their commitment in every defeat or victory, against all trials and tribulations. She said the liberation of Iranian society “motivates these women to accept responsibility and lead the movement”.
Maryam Rajavi said: “This is our responsibility. We must respond to the most serious sufferings and challenges in our communities. Issues like poverty and discrimination, homeless children and citizens, environmental disasters, and most importantly, political and social participation of all individuals, the right to the freedom of choice, and of course, eliminating gender discrimination. All of these are our responsibilities.”
In our next piece, we will look at how the Iranian Resistance has brought women at the helm of the movement for democratic change in Iran.