The Kurdish Women spearheading Iran’s Feminist Revolution

Mahsa Amini is a name that has been ringing across the world since the 16 September when she was brutally killed by the Islamic Republic of Iran for allegedly breaking their Islamic dress code.

She was a 22-year-old Kurdish woman and her death sparked uprisings against the regime in the Kurdish cities of Iran which then quickly spreading across the country with calls for the regime to go. It wasn’t long before her name was being chanted across the world in anti-regime protests and spread across billboards in Times Square in New York.

The irony is that her name was not Mahsa, her real name was Jina Amini but because of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s oppressive policies toward the Kurdish people, Kurds are unable to officially register their Kurdish names. Jina’s real name comes from the Kurdish word ‘Jin’ meaning woman and ‘Jiyan’ meaning life which is poignantly symbolic considering the movement behind this feminist revolution is the ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ movement meaning ‘Women, Life, Freedom’. This is the same movement which the Kurdish women of Rojava (Syria) fought and won against ISIS.

‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ is an inherently Kurdish slogan embedded in decades of the Kurdish people’s struggle against dictatorship, colonisation and oppression across the world – it was always intended to be a global movement as women’s rights are human rights but the origins of the movement must be acknowledged to fully understand all that it embodies.

This nuance has been completely lost in the narrative of the feminist revolution being carried out in Iran despite the fact that that the regime’s response to the uprisings takes its most extreme form in the Kurdish regions.

The scale of the military assaults on the Kurdish people, and other minorities such as the Baluch, cannot be seen anywhere else in Iran. As thousands of anti-regime protestors are receiving death sentences in sham trials and one protestor, Mohsen Shekari, has already been executed – in the Kurdish regions they aren’t even getting sham trials, with no procedural processes, no access to justice.  Anti-regime protestors in the Kurdish regions are being sentenced to execution without even being present.

The world can’t continue to chant ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ in the same breath that they erase, re-colonise and reinforce the oppression of the Kurdish people. Completely erasing Jina Amini’s ethnicity and subsequently the intersectional nature of this revolution in Iran reinforces the regimes oppression.


Tara Fatehi is an Australian - Kurdish human rights activist from Iran. She recently appeared at the Senate Inquiry into the Iranian regime's human rights abuses. Watch her evidence here on SBS: 

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