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The long fight for women's rights in Iran

How the current protests in the wake of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death are building on decades of women’s activism in Iran — and why for some, things feel different this time.
Women hold up signs depicting the image of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iranian authorities, during a demonstration denouncing her death by Iraqi and Iranian Kurds outside the UN offices in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, on September 24, 2022. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's morality police on Sept. 16, protests have erupted throughout Iran and in some 160 cities around the globe — with some of the biggest protests happening here in Canada.

Despite violent crackdowns in Iran, protesters are still coming out to the streets. And women have remained at the forefront, at times burning their headscarves or chopping off their hair. 

But this is far from the first time that women have led protest movements in the country. So today we're taking a look at how these latest demonstrations fit into a long history of women's activism in Iran — and whether this time feels different.

Our guest is Mona Tajali, an associate professor of international relations, and women's, gender and sexuality studies at Agnes Scott College. She's also the author of the recent book Women's Political Representation in Iran and Turkey: Demanding a Seat at the Table.

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