In the run up to the International women’s Day, Iranian women living in exile gathered in Paris on 17 February in a conference entitled, “Women Force for Change, Iran uprising and the role of women.”
Many prominent women including political personalities, lawmakers, jurists, judges, mothers of martyrs and advocates of women’s rights from 23 countries in five continents also participated in this conference in solidarity with women in Iran.
The dominant topic in the conference was the nationwide protests that was sparked on 28 December 2017 in the city of Mashhad, northeast Iran, that rapidly spread across the county. The undeniable leading role of women in the protests was underlined by the speakers, which was seen as a source of encouragement for all those seeking change in Iran.
Speakers expressed outrage at the level of discrimination against women and abuses of their basic rights in Iran. They pledged to be the voice of Iranian women who are courageously standing against injustice and suppression under the religious dictatorship.
The keynote speaker of the conference, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian resistance movement, spoke strongly against compulsory veil and said, “Contrary to the mullahs’ claims, imposing the veil (Hijab) by compulsion is diametrically against Islam. Faith is based on one’s free choice and out of free will. Whenever the regime wants to politically suffocate the society, they launch a campaign to arrest women under the pretext of improper veiling.”