Women in Iran fight for lives, liberty, and rights

Olivia Beauchemin, Staff Writer

After Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Iran earlier this fall, a female-led revolution began. Their slogan – “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” – translates to “Woman, Life, Liberty” in English. It was first chanted by mourners at Amini’s burial and is now being heard across the country. 

Although sparked by her death, these protests follow years of systematic oppression. Amini was brought into police custody after being arrested for not wearing a hijab, which was made mandatory for all women by Iranian law during the 1979 revolution. Iran security forces released a statement that she died from an underlying illness while in custody, but according to witnesses she was brutally beaten by the police. Due to the suspicious nature of the events, the United Nations released a statement calling for an independent investigation into Amini’s death. 

These protests consist mainly of children and women throughout Iran. During protests, they can be seen cutting their hair, waving hijabs in the air or burning them, dancing and singing. Despite the ridicule they face, the more life-threatening their protests become, the more they vow to continue to push. In the months following the first protest, more than 400 protesters have been killed by Iranian authorities, along with thousands arrested who face charges punishable by death. 

As time goes on the protests are only growing, leading to strikes and boycotts. In an attempt to stop the protests, Iran’s leaders have staged state-sponsored protests and created internet restrictions in an attempt to shut down the protestors’ communication. During protests, they have also begun to use force, such as sexual violence, overall aggression, and physical abuse. The future of women’s rights in Iran is seemingly bright. The protests have been going on for 11 weeks and show no signs of slowing down. These protests are unlike any from prior years. The protesters are young, strong and don’t plan to back down. They say they will no longer settle for reforms. They want justice, equality, and the rights they deserve.