In observance of International Women’s Day, prominent leaders and women’s rights activists met for a conference on Saturday, February 27 to advocate for better social and political treatment for women in Iran and across the world.
While the Iranian regime has been enjoying the spoils of their recent economic deals, the political and cultural landscape for Iranian women is still incredibly poor. The Pledge for Parity conference, led by Maryam Rajavi, sought to bring awareness to the women past and present in Iran that suffer from misogyny, abuse, and dismal political representation. The conference featured speeches from prominent thought leaders like former White House Director of the Office of Public Liaison Linda Chavez, journalist Diana Culi, Spanish politician Beatriz Becerra, and former French Minister of Human Rights Rama Yade.
In her address, Maryam Rajavi stressed that anything that promotes compulsion, denies people’s free choice, and denies women’s equal rights is not truly Islam, but in fact against Islam. “We will not tolerate violation of women’s rights in the guise of religion or any other pretext,” Rajavi stated. Rajavi pledged to support gender equality for Iranian women and reiterated her position against Iran’s draconian laws in her address: “No to compulsory veil, no to compulsory religion, and no to compulsory government.”
Rajavi also spoke of the recent Iran elections, and reiterated that Iran’s very selective election did not truly represent the Iranian people. She stressed that as the regime continues fights its challengers internally, the Iranian people grow restless for political representation. Rajavi argues that the Iranian regime’s attempt to strong-arm their power through suppression of democracy is inadvertently setting up an incredibly unstable Iran. She urged the young people of Iran to “expand their struggle,” and continue to advocate for a true democracy.
Other esteemed speakers took to the podium to advocate for women’s rights in Iran. Linda Chavez stated that the results of the Iranian election did not matter – regardless of the outcome, the situation for women in Iran will not change unless the regime changes. Beatriz Basterrechea described the violations against women in Iran as simply a crime, and believed that it’s completely unacceptable in 2016 for Iran to deny women their civil and individual rights.
Many speakers shared their support for a resolution against gender disparity. In a video interview, British politician Baroness Betty Boothroyd supported Maryam Rajavi’s 10-Point Plan for Women’s Rights in Tomorrow’s Iran, which calls for the abolition of the death penalty, the abolition of mandatory veil, and abolition of sexual exploitation of women. Colombian politician and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt stated that gender parity is essential of any government regardless of the differences in cultural backgrounds. “Parity is the cornerstone of all freedom, democracy and human rights,” she confirmed.
“We need Mrs. Rajavi to succeed,” Betancourt declared.
The event also included music from the Albanian Orchestra and featured performances by Aida and Gisoo Shakeri. Highlights from the event and a full list of speakers can be found here: http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/president-elect/19951-iran-maryam-rajavi-addresses-at-paris-conference-on-the-eve-of-international-women-s-day-2016