«Most interesting was the panel’s emphasis on the fact that the women’s movement in Iran didn’t arise out of nowhere to prominence in the Green Movement but was, in fact, a long time in the works. Tohidi said women in Iran had been engaged in many years of quiet educational and organizational work, especially over the past fifteen years, and today the women’s movement in Iran is the «strongest in the Middle East.» Some of them, she said, were Islamists who have been formulating a more progressive and liberal version of «Islamic feminism» while others are secular women who’ve moved far beyond Iran’s culture of revolutionary Islam. The two currents came together in 1997 in the massive vote that elected President Khatami, and since then they’ve brought strong pressure to bear on subsequent candidates. Jaleh Lackner-Gohari added that during the 1980s and 1990s, many women went into higher education and the professions precsiely because they were barred from politics and, she joked, «had nothing better to do.» Quietly, they built networks, professional organizations, and channels for communications — including, lately, blogs.»
Foto de Olivier Laban-Mattei.