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Greetings on the 8th of March

We greet all women on the occasion of 8th of March, the day of solidarity of women worldwide, as we call for building a new world, one free from war, poverty, violence, discrimination, and inequality; and struggle for peace, freedom, and social justice.demonstration
We, the women of Iran, celebrated this day 93 years ago, twelve years after Clara Zetkin the prominent fighter in the communist and working class, and women’s movement had marked it in 1910. To this day, we have celebrated the 8th of March relentlessly as we have struggled against reaction and medieval despotism, discrimination and inequality.

Through our struggle for equal rights, we forced the reactionary monarchy to acknowledge the right to education for girls and to-date we occupy 60% of places in higher education institutions. However, the reactionary regime of the Supreme Religious Leader sees us as the weaker sex, in the civil law we are seen as second class citizens and are under the yoke of men in the family who own the right to give or refuse permission for us to work or travel. Even the right of choosing our clothes has been taken from us. Every time that there has been the slightest opening in the oppressive climate in the country, we have tried to extend our wings and to inform people of our rights. Our struggle is not against men, but against misogynistic and medieval laws that add to the oppression of women alongside class oppression. Alas these so-called ‘openings’ in the political climate of our country have always been short-lived. Each time they have been followed by bloody suppression, but our struggle has deep roots and lives on. We have joined the mass demonstrations and many among us have fallen martyr to the bullets of the reactionary regime of hate. Despite all the restrictions that are placed in our way, we seek higher education, but the regime builds more barriers in our way such as the law of quotas based on gender, ethnic controls, segregation, and through laws such as the “Comprehensive Population and Purification of Family Bill” or the “Protection of Chastity and Limits”, the regime tries to remove us from the political, social and economic spheres and to drive us into the home.

They want us obedient and ignorant in order to continue to plunder our country.
The regime continues to immerse our country into deep economic and social crises, and it falls on us, women workers, professionals or heads of household to pay the price of the regime’s anti-people policies, such as its nuclear policy, in our empty wage packets.
In the workplace, we work hard, but because of the economic adjustments, the adjustment of the workforce and sanctions, we are the first for be fired – small production units with a smaller workforce than 10 people are not covered by the labour law, anyway.
The regime’s motto is that a woman’s place is in the home and that she is the source of munificence. However, what it means is that although we continue with our arduous jobs in rice fields from dawn till dusk, weave carpets in damp and dark basements sitting at the loom for hours on end, we are not covered in official statistics. Our oppression is the source of their profit. They do not object to our work, when they drag girls from the school desk to the streets in order to get some food to eat.
The official statistics state that 5% of workers of Iran are women. We know what leads to this figure. Our labour is mostly in the informal sector and as such does not enter any statistics. Employers can fire us at will. They suppress our organizations because the regime is afraid of women’s consciousness and their organization.
We, the women of Iran have achieved equality with men in one field – equality in imprisonment, torture and execution”. Hundreds of us, like Fatemeh Modaresi and her comrades were executed in the 1980s alongside their male comrades and were buried in mass graves.
Our courageous mothers such as Nayereh Jalali (the mother of Behkishes) or the mother of Lotfis who found their way to Khavaran burial ground in search of their loved ones.
We are the mothers, wives, daughters of the martyrs of the National Catastrophe of the massacre of political prisoners after the end of the Iran-Iraq war. We are prevented from visiting the graves on our loved ones because we exposed the regime’s atrocity. They wanted to obliterate the evidence of their crime by bulldozing the burial ground, but we did not let them hide their crime.
We are the incarcerated women in the regime’s torture chambers, and alongside our male counterparts, we pay for our resistance and struggle.
We are the families of the political prisoners, the mothers of Laleh Park, the mothers for Peace. We will continue to raise our voice so that the world hears us and demand the freedom of our loved ones. Like Gohar Beheshti, we will not be silenced.
And we, the working and combatant women of Iran will celebrate the 8th of March, because even though it is not recognized in the Islamic Republic’s calendar, it is carved and written in golden letters in the women’s movement of our country.
Long live 8th March, the day of solidarity of women the world over.
MaZanan 6th March 2016

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