Iranian women campaign against the obligatory wearing of headscarves

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Rubén Escobar (
  • Campaign Logo. Image: My Stealthy Freedom
    Campaign Logo. Image: My Stealthy Freedom.
  • Protesters for the #WhiteWednesdays campaign. Photo: Twitter
    Protesters for the #WhiteWednesdays campaign. Photo: Twitter.
  • Masih Alinejad at San Francisco for Iran Global Day of Action. Photo: Steve Rhodes, Flickr
    Masih Alinejad at San Francisco for Iran Global Day of Action. Photo: Steve Rhodes, Flickr.

#WhiteWesdnesdays is a social media initiative launched by the activist Masih Alinejad aiming to empower women and giving them a voice. 

#WhiteWednesday is a social media campaign that aims to make women stand in solidarity against discrimination. The Iranian-born writer and activist Masih Alinejad is the woman behind the idea, who started encouraging women and men in Iran to wear white and post photos to social media. The campaign fights against the obligatory wearing of headscarves (or hijabs). Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, it is true that the country has enforced laws requiring all women, including tourists, to dress modestly and cover their heads in public.

The NGO Justice for Iran shared a report in 2014 saying that between 2003 and 2013 more than 30.000 women were arrested for wearing improper attire. My Stealthy Freedom is the account that Alinejad used In Facebook, Twitter and she also uses Instagram. In this sense, the #WhiteWednesdays campaign has been going on for several weeks together with a series of protests where women would post videos of themselves without a veil on. “My goal is just empowering women and giving them voice”, said the activist to Reuters.

In this way, every Wednesday Twitter is full of people in Iran posting without a hijab on. The 40-year-old journalist and activist wanted to raise the visibility of her online movement so women could identify each other in the streets of Iran wearing “the colour of peace”. Some of the videos shared have many shares and retuits. On Facebook, the page has more than 1 million followers. “I am not marching alone, my husband joined me on my protest against compulsory hijab”, said on a post. “Being unveiled is my right. I joined #whitewednesdays and marching for freedom of choice” is, for example, another statement that has been shared.

The online movement My Stealthy Freedom first started in 2014 and has been going strong ever since. Apart from this campaign, Alinejad has spoken in public and at international events for women on many occasions about the subject. The social media campaign then is making people have a free conversation, something that according to Alinejad, is what Iranian society needs.

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