Editorial: Woman, Life, Freedom

Pardis Asadi Zeidabadi

Iranian women have been struggling for freedom and equality for almost 150 years. The recent killing of a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Zhina (Mahsa) Amini by the so-called “morality police” for allegedly not wearing the compulsory Islamic hijab “properly” has ignited ongoing waves of protests in Iran and around the world. The country’s fearless women and girls have been chanting Women, Life, Freedom and leading the fight for change. Women and girls in Iran have been burning their forced hijab as a symbolic gesture of their insistence on gaining freedom. Women around the world (particularly politicians and celebrities) have been cutting their hair to show solidarity with the protesters in Iran.

This special issue of Discover Society explains the current protests in Iran from different angles. In the first article, I explain the characteristics of these protests and argue that they contribute to a democratic system within which everyone is treated equally regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and class. The second article by Nadia Aghtaie examines how the morality police In Iran deprive women from making free choices and constitutes a form of violence against women.

The third article by Atlas Torbati explores the role of generation Z as the driving force behind the current protests in Iran. It explains how young people question the Islamic state by organising and holding mass street protests even in the face of deadly crackdowns. The fourth article is by Zahra Tizro exploring how the politics around the Hijab has involved trauma for Iranian women through Iranian history.

The article by Farshad Kashani examines the Iranian legal system in relation to the hijab. It describes how the enactment of compulsory hijab laws become a legal crisis for the Islamic Republic of Iran. The final article by Mastoureh Fathi examines a new notion of home, which she calls “the virtual home”. She argues how the current protests in Iran leads to “the virtual home” as a unifying shared space that enables Iranians outside the country to become closer to those inside, and reattached their broken ties to the homeland.

Welcome to our virtual Iranian home.

Discover Society is pleased to feature the illustrations of Roshi Rouzbehani as the header images for this series of articles. Roshi is, an Iranian freelance illustrator based in London, UK.  She is passionate about gender equality and puts women’s empowerment and sisterhood at the centre of her work. We thank her for allowing us to use her images for which she holds the copyright.

Pardis Asadi Zeidabadi, is a researcher and visiting lecturer at City, University of London. Her PhD thesis is about “the perspectives of Iranian feminists and women activists on their political identities and priorities”. Twitter: @Pardisasadi1


Asadi Zeidabadi, Pardis 2023 ‘Editorial: Woman, Life, Freedom’ Discover Society: New Series 3 (1): https://doi.org/10.51428/dsoc.2023.01.0001