International Women’s Day is a celebration of women across the world. It is a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. As well as celebrating the women and girls in my life today I will and we as a company will be supporting the strong women in Iran, continuing to spread awareness and urging our community to help in doing so.

Today, March 8th 2023, is International Women's Day; it also marks 173 days since protests began in Iran.

Background into the uprising
After the killing of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in state custody on September 16th 2022, anti-government protests broke out across Iran. Islamic Republic security forces have killed hundreds of young women and men, including dozens of children, most recently the poisoning of schoolgirls across the country. To date at least 20 protesters have been sentenced to death, four have already been executed, and 47 are facing charges that could carry the death penalty. 
Protesters in Iran are in dire need of international support. Stand in solidarity with the women and girls of Iran who are putting their lives at risk to demand freedom.

Sharing on social media
Social media has been used as a powerful tool in the uprising. In fact, the internet has an incredibly important role as that media is very severely controlled within Iran itself. Access for international journalists is severely limited so if you are looking for independent sources on what's actually going on outside of the control and censorship of the state, you really have to turn to what's on the internet and what's on social media. Social platforms have been a constant source of documentation and news from the protests solely dependent on digital evidence from citizens able to leak footage outside Iran.

The people in Iran are so limited in their freedom of speech on and offline. Protesters who share photos and videos of the revolution online often get arrested, threatened or even killed by the police. This is why the Iranian diaspora worldwide have become their voices.

Not only have the Iranian diaspora used social media to put pressure on world leaders to create change, but it’s been used to spread and raise awareness to the world on what is happening inside Iran.
Here’s some accounts to follow:

Signing this petition
On February 16, 2023 a new petition launched by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) calls on European Union (EU) countries to support the women and girls of Iran, who are facing severe and violent repression, by summoning Iranian ambassadors in unison on International Women’s Day. A joint letter by 39 Women’s and Human Rights Organisations calls on EU countries to summon Iranian ambassadors in unison this March 8th. 
Sign the petition here:

Cooking for Iran
As part of the Cook For Iran initiative, we joined forces with Saffron and Herbs to ask you to join us in raising awareness for the Iranian people’s quest for human rights and a better future. This movement hopes to draw attention to the human rights issues in Iran through culture, food and community. 

There are a number of ways you can join us:

  1. Cook an Iranian or Iranian-style dish using recipes from cookbooks or free online recipes
  2. Have a gathering with Persian food... And if you’re not a pro-chef, we can help
  3. Dine at an Iranian restaurant
  4. Invite friends and family round for an Iranian dinner party
  5. Buy or bake Iranian or Iranian-inspired sweet treats and have an afternoon tea party
  6. Host a cocktail night with a nod to the flavours we Iranians love such as pomegranate, cherries or dried lime in your beverage of choice

Don't forget to take lots of pictures tagging @modernpersiankitchen @saffron_and_herbs and @cookforiran in your contributions for the Cook for Iran initiative.

Read more and see our full blog post for further details.
Zan Zendagi Azadi x

Further reading materials:

March 08, 2023