Amplifying the voices of Iranian women, calling out gender apartheid
On International Women’s Day, the protests in Iran felt closer than ever. As the fight for justice and freedom, led by so many brave Iranian women, reaches a pivotal moment, the regime is retaliating with even more violence and cruelty. In recent weeks, there have been multiple reports of toxic gas attacks that have poisoned hundreds of schoolgirls in an attempt to silence and squash their protests. However, Iran’s courageous people have refused to back down and launched further protests in response.
As the global news cycle shifts its attention to other issues, the international community must continue to stand by the people of Iran and amplify their rallying cries. We are supporting a new campaign called End Gender Apartheid – and I wanted to help them reach more people with their message by sharing my Twitter channel on International Women’s Day.
I lent my channel to three Iranian women abroad who have been bravely vocal in their support of the protests. They have been calling out the archaic laws and atrocities committed by the mullah regime. Throughout the day, actor and activist Mozhan Marnò, human rights lawyer Gissou Nia, and advocate and actor Nazanin Nour, shared their insights – some heart-breaking, some uplifting - on the situation on the ground. In case you missed it, I’ve shared their tweets at the end of this blog.
Gissou's tweets mostly focused on the End Gender Apartheid campaign, which was launched by a coalition of brilliant human rights lawyers and activists. Their goal is to expand the legal definition of apartheid to include severe forms of institutionalised gender-based discrimination and to enshrine the idea in international and national laws.
Gender apartheid is real. It’s deliberate, and it’s a systemic problem. It crushes hopes and aspirations and deprives millions of girls and women of an education, of dreams, opportunities, health, and freedom. At its worst (as we see in Iran and Afghanistan), gender apartheid kills. Too many have died already. It’s an assault on human dignity that none of us should stand for, and I am fully supportive of the efforts to expand the moral, political and legal tools available to fight it. This is the best way to mobilise international action, hold perpetrators to account, and bring gender apartheid to an end. You can support the campaign by sharing it, and signing this open letter too.
Thank you to Gissou, Mozhan, Nazanin and the millions who have fearlessly and tirelessly spoke up for Iran. The international community must do the same.