Brussels: International Women’s Day 2023

March 8 marks International Women’s Day, an occasion to consider the situation of half of the world’s population and the progress of the equality movement. While in many countries, women have made considerable progress in achieving acquiring equal rights and enjoying fundamental rights, Iranian women have been fighting for over a century to attain equality.

Iranian women have paid an immense price for equality and freedom, earning them the leading role in Iranian society, particularly in the revolution in the making to topple the ruling misogynous regime.

Thus, their eventual victory will be a major breakthrough for the women’s rights movement and activists globally. This point was highlighted during an international conference on March 4 in Belgium, where renowned female politicians and women of high accomplishments attended to share their thoughts and experiences.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the first female secretary-general of Iran’s principal opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from 1989 to 1993. Mrs. Rajavi has paved the way for female members of the MEK to take leading positions in the movement. She elaborated the role of women in resistance in Iran. She declared that the revolution is necessary for freedom to be achieved.

Kathleen Depoorter, Member of the Belgian Parliament
When I heard recently about a wave of poisoning schoolgirls by toxic gas, I was in shock. We should, under all circumstances, prevent parents from leaving their daughter’s homes out of fear. Education is extremely important.

The strength of the Iranian protesters is admirable to me. I truly admire your strength because you risk your lives to obtain the fundamental rights you deserve.

I would like to express my deep respect to all the families of those who lost their lives for a better future for others. On this International Woman’s Day, I really want to honor you and all the brave Iranian women who played a significant role in the uprising.

But I also want to honor the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Because, yes, with half of its members being women and responsible for many of its committees, you struggle for freedom and equality.

And then I go back to Mrs. Rajavi. What a role model she is. What a woman. She really proves what female leadership is. She takes these women to where they must go to be political leaders to take our future into our hands.

It is a four-decade struggle that you have been leading all these years. And if you are fighting for freedom, equality, and democracy, it was empowered and guided by this distinguished leadership of Mrs. Rajavi. And I really applaud her.

Latifa Aït Baala, Member of the Parliament of Brussels, joined other speakers in emphasizing, “The struggle of Iranian women and the entire Iranian society is not limited to the question of the compulsory hijab. It is a fight for freedoms and fundamental rights, for gender equality, the rights of minorities, whether ethnic or not, and the end of the violence by a regime for the physical integrity and morality of a whole people.”

She also noted that Iranian “Women will overthrow this most misogynistic regime in the world! It is no coincidence that for four decades now, women have found themselves in this fight alongside Maryam Rajavi for her political leadership in the Iranian resistance movement.”

Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer , Former minister of defense of Germany 2021:
“You are an inspiration to women around the world and especially to us who are allowed to live as women in a free world. It is not about giving women a little more freedom.

 It is not about abolishing the obligation to wear a headscarf,” she said, rejecting this claim in the West that Iranian women’s demands are limited to the abolishment of mandatory veiling or whether Iranians want to replace the clerical regime with the deposed monarchy, who also regarded women as second-class citizens. “It is about something very fundamental, about the right of every human being, whether male or female, young or old, whether they belong to a minority or a majority, to shape their life the way they want. It is a human right, and it is inalienable. It is not about replacing one dictatorship with another,” she added.

Dominique Attias, President of the European Law Society Federation, also underlined that if Iranian women are at the forefront of the fight is “indicative of a long and painful struggle waged by women of all ages from all regions of Iran.” “They have carried the torch of struggle generation after generation. Now, supported by courageous young Iranians who also yearn for freedom, they come to say: enough, enough; Neither Shah nor mullahs! No more dictations.

 Iranian women must be free to choose their clothing, including wearing or not wearing the veil. Down with the law on compulsory veiling! Down with all these laws that violate women’s rights, that judge and enslave them,” Ms. Attias added.

Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison, also referred to the leading role of the MEK women and their impact on the Iranian women’s struggle against the misogynous regime. “There has been, for decades now, an organization and a group that has fought the regime. And that, of course, is the MEK. 

And it is led by a woman. And Mrs. Rajavi has said that it is not simply the right of women to either veil or not veil, but the right of women to make choices about their own personal life. It is the right of people to be able to choose their own leaders.

Other speakers from Canada, Frans, and other European countries joined the conference in solidarity with the Iranian women’s fight for freedom and democracy