A group of Iranian women’s rights activists have announced that Tuesday, March 8, the International Women’s Day, will be a "day of protest" against gender inequality.
The announcement, which has been signed by 300 women’s rights activists and their supporters, echo the earlier statement from Shirin Ebadi, who called for the day of protest on behalf of Iranian men and women who have been struggling against oppression, stressing that their fight for equal rights can only be realized with a democratic government.
Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, issued her statement on Wednesday, calling the March 8 protests a continuation of recent anti-government demonstrations in Tehran and other major cities.
Today’s statement links the demands of the women’s rights movement to the fight for gender equality in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries in the region. "We believe that no law can deliver justice and democracy unless every article of it is based on equal gender rights,” says the statement. “Therefore, changing the law will constitute the beginning of our movement toward democracy, gender equality and respect for all citizen rights.”
The activists add that until that day comes, "every March 8 will be a day of protest for us."
The statement follows one put out yesterday by the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope, the umbrella group that has been speaking for the opposition since its leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were put under house arrest and cut off from public. The council declared International Women’s Day as a day to protest the Islamic Republic government’s policies and the incarceration of the opposition leaders and their wives.
A group of Middle Eastern feminists has also issued a rally call for demonstrations on the hundredth anniversary of women’s rights struggles. Women’s groups in Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Iran have spoken in support of the rally.
In the past year, any demonstration on the occasion of International Women’s Day has been violently oppressed by the Islamic Republic.