International Women’s Day: A conversation with “Million Signature” & “Gender Equality” activist, Esha Momeni

Mar 9, 20100 comments

March 8, 2010

Esha Momeni – Photo Credit:

Over the weekend, as many activist groups around the world prepared for and celebrated International Women’s Day, Esha Momeni, an Iranian-American women’s rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures campaign, touched base to offer her own unique insights. “This March 8th,” Esha wrote, “Iranian women’s rights activists have invited all the women’s rights advocates in the world to stand in solidarity with Iranians in their fight for democracy, in yet another show of our overcoming borders.” Esha is all too familiar with having to “overcome” these borders, as her sheer inching toward those borderlines was enough for an arbitrary arrest in Fall of 2008. As a graduate student at the California State University Northridge, Esha traveled to Iran in August of 2008 to work on her master’s degree and conduct research about the women’s rights movement in Iran. Only a month and a half into her stay, Esha was arrested for allegedly “unlawfully passing another vehicle” while driving through Tehran. Esha, held at the notorious Ward 209 of Evin prison, was accused – as has become the case for many “Million Signature” campaigners – of “propaganda against the state.” Esha was released after 28 days on $200,000 bail “in the form of the deed to her parents’ home.” Undeterred by arrest and the authorities’ intimidation tactics, Esha returned to the United States in August 2009 to continue her women’s rights advocacy. In addition to the One Million Signatures Campaign, Esha works with Gender Equality for Iran, a group of women’s rights activists collecting signatures in agreement with the statement “Freedom & Gender Equality in Iran.” Various like-minded organizations, including Front Line Defenders, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and Women’s Learning Partnership, have contributed their organization’s “signatures” in support. (U4I encourages everyone – individuals and organizations! – to take a few seconds to “sign” your name into a blank field as a simple show of support for the women and women’s rights activists of Iran and around the world.) Esha continued, detailing her hopes for the women of Iran, the struggles that continue to ensue, the progress made, and the path moving forward:

For a hundred years, we have been standing next to Iranian men fighting for democracy, but our names have been erased from history, our bodies have been hidden behind the chador, our voices have been censored, and our rights have been denied, but we have never given up. Our desire for equality and peace has grown strong in the shadows and violence, and no power can deny or hide us anymore… We still have a long way to go, and our steps are small, but what matters is that we are going… Esha Momeni March 2010

Learn More For Esha’s Return (Free Esha Blog) One Million Signature Campaign (Eng) (Far) Gender Equality for Iran CSUN Grad Student Formerly Imprisoned in Iran Returns to Los Angeles