Create Platform for Collective Voice
The power of women’s “collective voice” is essential to solving the many economic, social, political, and cultural issues that face women and girls as both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. From persistent violence against women to lack of parity in leadership, from the absence of women in peacemaking and negotiation to gender and racial discrimination, from poverty to lack of accessible and affordable health care, these issues persist. The collective voice of women made many of the advances possible such as pushing gender discrimination from margin to the center of agenda, calling out rape culture, addressing violence against women (VAWA), passage of Title IX which opened new educational possibilities, putting a human face on sexual harassment and last but not least, revolutions must include the female perspective. And so we stand at a historical juncture: movement building is imperative to protect our hard-fought achievements and keep moving forward yet there is still a long road ahead of us.
We know that throughout the history, decision-makers have ignored or excluded women and girls’ voices. The collective voice of women and girls striving for gender equality is the only force that can make that change possible.
Iranian women both in Iran and the diaspora have consistently addressed the challenges of achieving gender equality. We have moved forward with movement building inside and outside Iran. However, we have not done this together, as a collective movement. Such a movement could change things dramatically for Iranian women, but we need a concerted effort to create such a voice out of the diverse community of Iranian women in the diaspora. We need a collective voice and movement that values inclusion, intersectionality, and collaborates with other social movements.
We need this now. Women in Iran who are striving for gender equality and peace have many challenges personally and politically. They struggle with an undemocratic state, they struggle to gain respect for women's basic rights, they struggle for personal and political freedom.
Three years ago, a group of Iranian women, all of whom had a deep-rooted history in the women’s movement, decided to embark on ICWIN and leverage women’s collective voice to ensure the empowerment of women in our community, to make our collective voice heard, to create opportunities and overcome the challenges that face Iranian American women. Our efforts are just a step toward this goal.