Engendering the Movement for Democracy in Iran

June 21, 2011
02:00 pm - 03:30 pm


Ms. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

With comments by

Ms. Mahnaz Afkhami
Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace

Over the past three decades, the Women’s Movement has played a critical role in the struggle for equal rights in Iran. Women were a forceful presence during the 2009 Green Movement demonstrations, in which millions of Iranians poured onto the streets to demand democratic accountability.  The Women’s Movement’s social networks facilitated the rapid spread of information amongst protesters, and the Movement’s leadership provided organizational guidance. 

Despite the strong support the Green Movement has received from women, gender marginalization within the Movement remains a persist issue. Strategic decisions within Iran’s pro-democracy community continue to be made by men, and patriarchal attitudes remain prevalent. 

In her presentation, Ms. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, a leader of the Iranian Women’s Movement, explored how women activists can draw attention to gender perspectives and promote a culture of equality within the Green Movement.  By identifying shared values in a number of key areas, Ms. Abbasgholizadeh sought to locate common ground and present a strategy for further promotion and integration of gender equality. Her presentation was followed with comments by Ms. Mahnaz Afkhami, founder and president of the Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace.


Ms. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh is an Iranian women’s rights activist, journalist, and filmmaker. She is a founding member of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign, the Iranian Women’s Charter Movement, the Meydan Zanan (Women’s Field) Network, an interactive website aimed at encouraging dialogue among diverse activist groups. She is also a member of the Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE). She has served as director of the Non-Governmental Organisation Training Centre (NGOTC), an organization that has trained women’s groups throughout Iran, and the Association of Women Writers and Journalists. Additionally, she has served as editor-in-chief of Farzaneh Women’s Studies Journal and contributes regularly to the publications Sharg (East) and Zanan (Women).