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5 Women-Led Movements In History That Changed The World

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Women have always been great leaders and the voice of revolution. They have shown the world how to protest against discrimination and fight for their rights. Iranian women in 2022 are continuing the legacy of not giving in to the country’s brutal enforcement of the morality police.

The current protests in Iran have gained worldwide attention. Despite being labelled weak women from around the world have led several protests which have impacted history and how.

Here we recall some movements led by women which led to change.

5 Women-Led Movements In History

Chipko Movement

A forest conservation movement started in India in 1973 in the Himalayan region of the state of undivided Uttarakhand against the contractor system of auctioning parts of the forests for commercial purposes and hundreds of tribal people losing their jobs and home. Under the guidance of activist Sunderlal Bahuguna, the movement had started, but women played a key role in it. Gaura Devi led 27 other women to stand around the trees, holding each other to protect them from getting cut down. The protest had spread throughout the country, and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi banned the felling of trees.

Shaheen Bagh Protest

After the announcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act by the Indian government in 2019, protests started around the country, claiming it to be non-secular and against the constitution. A sit-in protest started in Shaheen Bagh locality of Delhi, and women of different ages and religions led it as they requested the government to rethink its policies. Bilkis Dadi became the face of the protest, a symbol of resilience and strength, and she was featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential faces of 2020. The protest started in December 2019 and continued till March 2020 until covid pandemic started.

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Picture credit: TV9bharatvarsh

Afghan Protests

After the Taliban captured Afghanistan in 2021 and started brutal laws, women took to the roads to protest against the unjust takeover. Women’s rights were curbed, they were stopped from pursuing higher education, forced to cover up themselves and not to do certain jobs, and they rightfully voiced their opinion in the public domain.

afghanistan university students

Image: Tamim Hamid, TOLO News / Twitter

Women’s Right Convention in Seneca

One of the first women-led feminist movements is said to have happened in New York in 1848. 300 women had come together and signed a ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ as they asked for their right to vote, education, property and many other basic rights. The movement was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Iran Protests 2022

After the brutal death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in Iran, at the hands of the moral police, women throughout the country have made their voices heard against the moral policing of women for ages. To protest, women have chopped their hair and burnt their hijabs. They have claimed that no one should be telling them what to wear. And the murder of a woman for what she wore cannot be accepted.


Suggested Reading: 3 Ways The Latest Iran Demonstrations Are Different From Past Protests