MEK’s Conference Highlights Women’s Leadership Potential
On the eve of International Women’s Day, hundreds of notable female leaders from four continents gathered in Berlin for the Iranian Resistance conference. This conference emphasized the essential role of women in the struggle not just for gender parity but also for freedom, with words from the Iranian opposition’s leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, and remarks from the valiant resistance of women in Ukraine.Mrs. Rajavi, under whose leadership, women in the Iranian Resistance have attained unequaled positions of authority and command, described her story of emancipation from all sorts of shackles in the male-dominated world within the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
“The PMOI women stayed firm in the face of the slanders. They fought back against military and missile attacks for years, standing empty-handed in front of tanks and pushing them back. As a result, on the battlefield, they demonstrated their expertise and capabilities,” Mrs. Rajavi remarked.
In the Iranian Resistance, she also emphasized the importance of equality. “The men and women of this movement, who are at the forefront of the Iranian people’s struggle against clerical tyranny, have revived the value of resistance. They have chosen not to succumb to oppression and keep paying whatever the price necessary for eliminating it.”
For decades, the male-dominated culture, notably religious extremists in Iran, barred women from expressing their leadership qualities. On the contrary, a new generation of Iranian Resistance women leaders has been defying previous dogmas by embracing virtues like empathy, courage, and collaboration to complete difficult tasks while refusing to conceal the qualities that define them.
Urka Baovnik Jana, a women’s rights activist and the wife of Slovenia’s Prime Minister, emphasized this point. “Maryam (Rajavi) has had to overcome significant political, social, cultural, and ideological hurdles posed by Iran’s ruling regime as a Muslim woman. Maryam’s boldness and devotion to empowering Iranian women are admirable. “Women have risen to take crucial positions in the Iranian Resistance movement under Maryam’s leadership,” she told the audience on March 5.
The “man’s world” silences women’s voices, ignores their views, and makes it apparent that there is no place for them at the table. However, the Iranian women’s resistance, and now the Ukrainian women’s resistance, have turned the “table,” demonstrating their ability to lead the gruelling struggle for freedom and equality. As a result, many female leaders have found inspiration in them.
“You are our inspiration. Your fight will have an impact not only on Iran but also on women all across the world. Your country will begin a new future. You will inspire women all around the world… Female power is enormous,” former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt told the gathering.
Two Ukrainian MPs who have recently joined the ranks of the Resistance were also present at Saturday’s conference. “My life changed ten days ago after the war came to our country and Russia invaded Ukraine. This was for a reason. Everything we do will strengthen us. I was a Member of Parliament just ten days ago. Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian MP, told the audience, “It turned out that my life would never be the same.”
“We will never win if we lose faith.” It is very important to keep the faith. “Don’t give up on your nation,” said Ukrainian MP Lisa Yasko, echoing Ms. Rudik’s appeal to action and emphasizing the importance of women in the conflict in Ukraine.
Messages from dozens of Iranian women, including MEK “Resistance Units” members, vowing to keep fighting the misogynous regime, as well as solidarity from renowned female leaders, demonstrated the crucial role of women in bringing about a historic change in Iran that will affect the Middle East and beyond.