An Afternoon with Sadiqe Dowlatabadi
Feminist Movement in the Twentieth-Century Iran
International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) – Royal College of Art (London)
The emergence of women in the public sphere in Iran is tied to the formation and growth of women’s associations and publications over a period of 20 years, beginning approximately from 1910 to 1932. This was the achievement of few elites and pioneers who passionately started to work for women’s education as well as playing an active part in the Iranian society. Zaban- e-Zanan (Women's Voice), published by Sadiqe Dowlatabadi in 1918, was the first publication that was written by woman about women and for women’s interests. For many, Dowlatabadi is considered ‘the first founding mother of Iranian feminist movement’. She was a nationalist, progressive and a determined woman who declared to tell the truth and to struggle against a foreign domination of Iran. Women like her, had the courage to push for change within the patriarchal, religious culture of Iran, seeking to bring Iranian women out of the shroud of seclusion. Dowlatabadi was amongst a few others, who challenged the social and religious order, setting into motion the wheels of female activism. While initially unsuccessful in combating repression or attaining meaningful women’s right, these women nevertheless succeeded in bringing attention to women’s issues and demands.
In 1947, Sadiqe Dowlatabadi participated in the Congress of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, where she delivered a key speech about Iranian women. At the congress, Dowlatabadi elaborated on Iranian women’s progress, the modern schools they had established, and other reforms which had been secured and pointing out the positive impact on women’s lives in Iran. She essentially wanted to ‘set the record straight’ and inform the international feminist audience of Iranian women’s advancements. Dowlatabadi was undoubtedly a vanguard of the women’s movement in Iran. To improve literacy rates amongst women, she established schools specifically for girls. She also established a number of women’s associations, which played an important role in promoting the participation of educated women in society.
The International Institute of Social History is proud to accommodate the personal archive of Sadiqe Dowlatabadi.
An Afternoon with Sadiqe Dowlatabadi is an outcome of a joint project on the women movement in Iran coordinated by the International Institute of Social History and the Royal College of Art. This project would shed a light on the archival material on the feminist movement of Iran 20th century and also to connect the relevance of this archival material to the contemporary context of women’s life in 21st century Iran.
The program is compromises of a seminar which is accompanied by public display of ephemera and archival material, as well as a table dedicated to books/ Journals related to this topic and development of the research displayed on the seminar day.
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2:00. Introduction: Touraj Atabaki (IISH, Amsterdam)
2:15. Dowlatabadi and The Feminist Movement of Iran, Azadeh Fatehrad (Royal College of Art, London)
2:45. Setting the stage for Iranian women’s activism – Sediqe Doulatabadi’s ventures, networks & travels, Jasmin Khosravie (Institut für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften, Universität Bonn)
3:25 Break. IISH Archive Tour
3:55 Video screening- Tahmineh Monzavi (Azad University, Tehran)
4:15 Panel discussion by Touraj Atabaki, Azadeh Fatehrad and Jasmine Khosravie
Video screening- Women of Iran.