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Women without veils revolutionize Iran
By María Vila Rebolo
The Girls of the Revolution’s Street is a broad peaceful movement of Iranian women who do not want to cover themselves with a veil, as is currently mandatory under Iranian law. They carry out their protests in the main streets of Iran. At the end of January 2018 the women chose visible locations where they stood and shook their veils that are tied at the end of a stick. It is the first time, since the big protests during the early years of the Islamic Republic in the 1980s, that a generation of Iranian women has expressed their personal freedoms in an organized way. The protests have been well attended despite the real risks of cruel physical and economic punishments. Much of their organizational success is due to the use of social media. This initiative is a continuation of the demonstrations that took place in 2017, in which women also took off their veils or wore white ones.
Many people think that the countries which suffer under the yoke of extremism today have always been this way, but that is not true in the case of Iran. Before the establishment of the religious extremist Ayatollah regime in 1979, progressive Iranian women and men had achieved the freedom to dress as they pleased – including with no veils or mandatory head coverings. As early as 1935 King Reza Pahlavi had eliminated the mandate of veils in public spaces, and promoted the entry of women into politics, universities and the labor market.
For independent thinking Iranian women the mandatory wearing of the veil invades their personal freedom in many ways. First of all, the veil is the society’s way of showing that a girl is available for marriage. Wearing the veil is also a reminder for girls to repress their natural emotions such as a laughter, and to stay away from playful actions like sports. Thanks in part to the courage of these young Iranian women who are taking a stand against injustice, the totalitarian regime in Iran is under increasing pressure to become more free.