Over the past three decades Iran has been named by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International for having one of the worst records on women's rights in the world. Iran's judicial system is based on Sharia law. Under Sharia laws (or under Iranian government's particular interpretation of it), women’s testimony in court is worth half of that of man; custody rights for mothers are systematically disregarded; women cannot become judges, ambassadors or presidents; exposure of any part of women’s body other than hands and face is subject to 70 lashes or 60 days imprisonment. These are only a few laws that target the rights and freedoms of women of Iran. Despite these, Iranian women constitute one of the most vibrant and progressive gender demographics in the Middle East. 60% of university students are women. 40% of Iranian filmmakers are women. Many of the most influential Iranian writers and poets are women. More importantly, women are on the forefront of the most powerful human rights and women’s rights advocacy campaigns in Iran. How has that happened? How have women managed to fight back in the heart of a bitterly theocratic state? Who are these women? What are their stories?
Women on the Front Line tries to answer these questions by talking to women’s rights activists who have been in the thick of struggle for gender equality in Iran.
The film, the first of its kind, is the brainchild of Sheema Kalbasi, the Iranian poet and human rights activist. Written by Sheema Kalbasi and Hossein Fazeli and directed by Hossein Fazeli, the film combines on-camera interviews with theatrical segments to arrive at a subjective take on the struggle of women’s rights activists in Iran. Interviewees include prominent activist and thinkers such as Mehrangiz Kar, Aida Saadat, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Noam Chomsky and others.
This is an activist film. We invite all human rights and women’s rights activists, as well as film and media professionals, to join us in mainstreaming the struggle of Iranian women for equality and freedom. The stories of these brave women must simply be shared. Please contact us if you are interested.
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