Women’s Campaigns Flourish beyond Iran Protests

By Stefania D’Ignoti for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

As the protests in Iran dominated international news in early January, an editor of Grazia asked Farian Sabahi, a historian who specializes in Iran and the Middle East, to comment on the protests ravaging her country.

Sabahi penned a piece that focused on the role of women in the demonstrations, underlining that they wanted the same thing as male demonstrators — more jobs and more political rights.

She said that even though the women’s question remains an important one in Iran, the uprising was not directly triggered by the compulsory veil, or hijab. She also referred to the “white veil” photo in the media that showed an unnamed woman stood alone without her hijab, silently waving a white scarf.

Sabahi explained that the image did not come during the recent demonstrations, but was taken a day before they started, as part of a movement known as White Wednesday that started months ago. Her commentary underlined that hijab has no role in the current protests, which rather stem from economic as well as political grievances.

When the article came out, however, Sabahi was surprised to see that its contents had been altered — including the caption that identified the photo as belonging to the White Wednesday movement. The writer thought that all the changes twisted her viewpoint and portrayed women’s desire to take off the hijab as the engine of the current upheavals.

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