Maryam Rajavi is the face of a movement that opposes everything the mullahs stand for and of a future free Iran, but she is especially hated by the misogynistic mullahs because her election kicked off the Iranian Resistance’s strategic, cultural, political, and ideological campaign that will soon see the end of the clerical regime.

The mullahs hate Maryam Rajavi not just because of what she stands for, but also because she is a woman and the Regime hates women. With all of that in mind, let’s look at how Maryam Rajavi increased gender equality and women’s roles in the Iranian Resistance.

In 1989, the Iranian Resistance overhauled itself by investing significantly in the leadership of women, when Massoud Rajavi, then Secretary-General of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK Iran), announced that Maryam Rajavi (who had been joint leader since 1985) would carry on his mandate alone, saying that she was “uniquely qualified”.

Maryam Rajavi’s leadership was a tribute to the tens of thousands of brave Resistance women who had taken huge risks, withstood the worst tortures, and sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Iran. It was also a declaration of war on the mullahs’ misogyny and fundamentalism.

As MEK’s Secretary-General, Maryam Rajavi overhauled the organization’s structure and offered equal opportunities to women in all positions previously occupied by men alone.

This gave women the chance to gain experience and the confidence that they could do the job. It also helped men in the Resistance to overhaul their attitudes towards women and their abilities, by showing that women were as competent as men in all areas. This was vital because Iran would never be free, unless all people worked together, pooling their resources and abilities.

The active engagement and leadership of women in all areas of the Resistance have enabled the introduction of new methods and practices to improve the adaptation of the Resistance against the Regime.


Then, on August 1993, the NCRI coalition of Iranian opposition organizations elected Maryam Rajavi as President. This was made public on October 22, 1993.

Since then Maryam Rajavi has launched a remarkable challenge to the mullahs in Iran on a political, social, cultural, and ideological level, which has led to over half of the top political, diplomatic, social, and cultural positions in the NCRI being held by women. She also relegated all her previous responsibilities in MEK Iran to an all-woman Leadership Council. These women have won remarkable victories in challenging legal and political battles that have changed the way the NCRI is seen.

In our next piece, we will look at Maryam Rajavi’s view that gender equality is tied to democratic struggle and some of the obstacles she has overcome.