Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award – the Women and Girl Protestors of Iran

The September 16 death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, visiting Tehran from her home in Kurdistan, while in the custody of Iran’s so-called “Morality Police,” sparked months of grassroots, women-led protests across Iran’s 31 provinces.

Iran’s state-sponsored violence against women has a long history, yet Amini’s brutal killing touched a nerve in Iranian society, galvanizing a protest movement. In the days following Amini’s death, Iranian women and girls took the streets, removing and burning their headscarves, and cutting their hair.

Their courage and defiance inspired waves of others – including men and boys – to join them en masse. Schoolgirls also joined the movement; social media quickly filled with images of young girls defiantly protesting in their classrooms and standing up to school administrators who tried to stop them. Despite the brutal response that followed, which killed hundreds of peaceful protesters, including around 70 children, the women and girls of Iran persisted. #IWOC2023