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Women’s activities in the social and political arenas


All of you must cast your vote, a vote for an Islamic republic, not a word less (in this designation) nor a word more.5 You too must vote, you are no different from others, indeed you lead the men. (79)

 

8 March 1979 (17 Isfand 1357 AHS)

 

It is necessary for me to reiterate that the crusading and brave women all over Iran must participate in the referendum. The women who played a sensitive role in the victory of the Islamic revolution at the side of men, indeed who led the men, should realise that by actively participating they will ensure the further victory of the Iranian nation. Participation in this referendum is one of the national and Islamic duties of the men and women. (80)

 

24 March 1979 (4 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

 

Women have the right to vote; indeed they enjoy more rights than women in the West. They have the right to vote, the right to elect or be elected. (81)

 

29 March 1979 (9 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

 

I ask Almighty God to grant you health and happiness and I hope that side by side with the men you will vote for the Constituent Assembly6 and the National Consultative Assembly so that an Islamic republic, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic and the Consultative Assembly of the Islamic Republic can be founded and we can attain that which we want. (82)

 

10 April 1979 (21 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

 

Of course there is no objection to women taking up employment, sound employment, but we do not want a repeat of the way it was during the Pahlavi era. Then they did not have employment in mind for women, rather their aim was to degrade both men and women, pulling them down from that position they occupy. They did not want a natural growth for either sex. (83)

 

16 May 1979 (26 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)

 

It is one of the blessings of the movement that you ladies from the coastal regions, and indeed the other respected ladies of Iran, are now involved with the issues of the day and political issues. The criminal hands, which were manifested in the form of the hands of Muhammad Riza and his father, had excluded all segments of the population from involvement in social and political affairs.

 

Political matters were never presented for the consideration of the ladies, nor for that matter the brothers either. And if a political issue was put forward for the people to decide on, it was still based on their (the West’s) plundering policy. If some classes of the population, the so-called political classes, became involved in the political issues of the day, they were simply involving themselves in policies dictated by the West and aimed at plundering the East. (84)

 

3 July 1979 (12 Tir 1358 AHS)

 

It is today when all segments of society have a say in their own affairs, in the affairs of the country and the political affairs of state. It is today when all people of the nation, whether the esteemed ladies or the brothers, have a say in determining their own destiny. (85)

 

3 July 1979 (12 Tir 1358 AHS)

 

The respected women and dear ladies have gone into the villages to help with the harvest and other things. Of course they are not reapers in the same sense as the farmers are, but by their action, small as it may seem, they enable the reaper to work twice as much of his land and thus double his harvest.

 

For when the men who reap the land see that these ladies, who normally sit in the shade and have nothing to do with such work, are prepared to come out into the sun and harvest the barley, it breathes new life into their spirit. So the action of these ladies is also valuable in that it gives renewed vigour to the farmers and they work even harder. (86)

 

21 July 1979 (30 Tir 1358 AHS)

 

We all voted for an Islamic republic, you too voted, but voting alone is not enough. Our votes mean only that the country of Iran is now officially an Islamic republic. But it will be a true Islamic republic only when you ladies, along with these gentlemen, undertake your responsibilities and we all see ourselves as having a duty to perform. (87)

 

13 September 1979 (22 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)

 

It is important that each of us sees ourselves as having a duty to perform. So, for example, I, as a theological student, consider it my duty to serve (the nation) to the best of my ability, while you sisters must consider it your duty to help rebuild this country which they (the Pahlavis) ruined and destroyed, beginning in the area where you live, and through your efforts put it right. (88)

 

20 September 1979 (29 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)

 

The sisters who hitherto have not been involved in the issues of the day must now involve themselves. (89)

 

20 September 1979 (29 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)

 

Women must have a say in determining their destiny. Women in the Islamic Republic must vote. Just as men have the right to vote, women too have that right. (90)

 

1 February 1980 (12 Bahman 1358 AHS)

 

Today, women in the Islamic Republic shoulder-to-shoulder with the men are striving to rebuild themselves and their country. (91)

 

5 May 1980 (15 Urdibihisht 1359 AHS)

 

I return once again to you sisters and dear ones and remind you that you must attend to the matter of observing Islamic rules in your environment. The country is an Islamic one, it is an Islamic republic, [and] there must be a change in all aspects of its character. (92)

 

13 May 1980 (23 Urdibihisht 1359 AHS)

 

Who has mobilised these women to involve themselves, and quite rightly so, in all the country’s affairs? God has called them to this task and they are obeying His call. (93)

 

12 July 1980 (21 Tir 1359 AHS)

 

Today, the ladies must act on their social and religious duties and protect public morality, and in so doing carry out their social and political activities. (94)

 

10 September 1980 (19 Shahrivar 1359 AHS)

 

I hope that this movement will end in victory and you will all be successful, God willing. May you expand your gatherings everywhere in an even more splendid manner so that women will awaken and reject those things of the past, reject that former role of being a plaything, of having to dress up and make up. You yourselves know how much damage that attitude did to our economy and how much harm it did to public morality. Today’s women, like the men, must be properly educated and concern themselves with the issues (of the day), they too must exercise sound judgement in their involvement in the (country’s) affairs, and God willing, they will be successful. (95)

 

10 September 1980 (19 Shahrivar 1359 AHS)

 

All the women and all the men must involve themselves in social and political affairs. They must be supervisors, supervising the work of the Parliament and the government; they must express their opinions. (96)

 

10 September 1980 (19 Shahrivar 1359 AHS)

 

Guiding a nation is a momentous task to undertake, and guiding half of that nation – the women – is even more so. This task7 is fraught with difficulties; indeed the decision to take it on is itself an important undertaking. But now that you have resolved to do such a thing, let nothing weaken or shake that resolve. (97)

 

7 February 1981 (18 Bahman 1359 AHS)

 

You ladies who are occupied with this humanitarian and Islamic task can be absolutely certain that because you are doing this work for God, you will be successful. (98)

 

7 February 1981 (18 Bahman 1359 AHS)

 

Today we see that the respected ladies of Iran throughout the country are useful members (of our society) and form a committed and devout community serving their country. They are the mainstay of this country. I hope that, mindful of Islamic precepts and armed with the weapon of faith and devotion to Islam, they will carry this victory forward and will be the mainstay of this revolution too. (99)

 

23 May 1981 (2 Khurdad 1360 AHS)

 

It is the duty of every man and woman of legal voting age to go to the polling stations and cast their vote for a president. If you waver in this regard, then those who wish to see this country destroyed may be victorious. All of you, all of us, men and women together, are bound by duty to determine our destiny just as we are bound by duty to perform our namaz (the ritual prayer). (100)

 

4 July 1981 (13 Tir 1360 AHS)

 

I advise both men and women who are of legal voting age to take part in these elections and vote for any of the candidates they wish. Participate they must. (101)

 

27 November 1982 (6 Azar 1361 AHS)

 

Wherever one looks in Iran, one sees women pursuing Islamic activities, religious and even political activities, while at the same time preserving their modesty and their dignity. Whereas those women who freely mingled with men in society produced nothing other than corruption throughout the whole of the taghut period, these women (today), in this short span of time, have been so active that the results of their endeavours are already beginning to show in Qum and other cities. (102)

 

13 March 1983 (22 Isfand 1361 AHS)

 

If those people8 who wish to sabotage the activities of these ladies – this great service they are performing which before God is a worthy service – are Muslim, then they are committing a cardinal sin, and if they are not Muslim and by their actions merely seek a return to the dissoluteness which once existed, then they should know that the season of wantonness is over, and the ladies of Iran will no longer give them permission to return to the way they used to act.

 

I must thank all of you. Praise God, you are busy doing religious activities and you also have political insight. Iranian women today enjoy both religious and political acumen. The obstacles that once prevented you from carrying out religious and political activities have now been removed. I hope that very soon each one of you will reach the point where you will be able to educate others. (103)

 

13 March 1983 (22 Isfand 1361 AHS)

 

You must involve yourselves in all aspects of the country’s life to the extent that Islam has allowed, such as taking part in elections. The elections are one of the most talked about issues in Iran at the moment, and participation in them today is something that must be done. The ladies must be active in the elections just as the men are, for when it comes to their destiny, there is no difference between them and others.

 

The destiny of Iran is the destiny of all. Islam has served you ladies more than it has the men. Islam protected you, so now you reciprocate by protecting Islam. This means taking part in these elections, for they will determine the formation of the second parliamentary assembly. Elections play a very important role in your destiny and ours, a primary role. It is elections that must lay down the path the country follows in all its affairs, whether domestic or foreign.

 

Therefore, you ladies must play a very active role so that the parliament does not become one that is, God forbid, infiltrated by some unscrupulous elements and is gradually drawn towards the East or the West, becoming the kind of parliament that existed in the previous era and imposing on us policies which parliaments of that time imposed on the people. (104)

 

8 April 1984 (19 Farvardin 1363 AHS)

 

Just as men should concern themselves with political matters and safeguard their society, so too should women. Women should take part in social and political activities shoulder-to-shoulder with men, while, of course, at the same time complying with Islamic principles. God be praised, this is happening today. (105)

 

8 April 1984 (19 Farvardin 1363 AHS)

 

We are proud that the ladies, both young and old, are present in the cultural, economic and military arenas, and that they are active shoulder-to-shoulder with the men or even more so than they are – in the area of elevating Islam and advancing the goals of the Most Noble Qur’an. (106)

 

5 June 1989 (15 Khurdad 1368 AHS)

 

 

Adapted from: “The Position of Women from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini (r.a.)”

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