Giving Compass' Take:
- Eight women's rights activists offer perspective on what the protests mean for women's rights and the fight for body autonomy.
- What can funders do to elevate female activists' voices in the fight for human rights?
- Learn more about the protests in Iran.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Plucking, washing, combing, cutting, dyeing, shaving — our hair has a high value for us, and for many of us, it’s one of the ways we can show ourselves and who we are to the world. Above all, it’s a part of us and our body, and everyone should be able to decide for themselves what they do with their body.
Around the world, however, the rights of women and girls to have control over their own bodies is being torn away. From Roe v. Wade in the United States, to the shocking death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini in Iran, recent months have highlighted just how fragile women’s rights to bodily autonomy continue to be.
Amini died on Sept. 16, after being arrested, beaten, and detained by Iran’s “morality police” — which enforce strict interpretations of Sharia law in the country — because she was allegedly wearing her headscarf incorrectly with some of her hair being visible. Headscarves are compulsory for women in public in Iran.
Since Amini’s death, protests have erupted across Iran and have spread to the world — with women cutting and shaving their hair, burning their headscarves, and taking to the streets in brave acts of solidarity and defiance.
Here, women’s rights activists and advocates share their thoughts on Amini’s death, and what they believe the global outrage in response to her death means for women’s rights.
"Mahsa's name was Jîna. And Jîna was a young Kurdish woman who had to resort to another name, an identity that conformed to supremacy. If we call her Mahsa instead of Jîna, we continue the nationalistic and regime-loyal invisibilization of those identities whose existence was constantly threatened by persecution, arbitrary imprisonment, and assimilation. We forget women like Zara Mohammadi, Zeynab Jalalian, and all the women who in their mere Kurdishness triggered a resistance.”
“We must definitely take into account the oppression of all minorities in the feminist and anti-fascist struggle. For absolute freedom can only be approached by challenging the dominance of the majority over the minority."
Read the full article about women activists in Iran by Nora Holz, and Tess Lowery at Global Citizen.