". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Iranian Women Provide Profiles in Real Female Courage

March 9, 2023

On International Women’s Day 2023, the social media timelines of Western internet-users were flooded with images and headlines celebrating womanhood — or, at least, claiming to. It seems like each year, as humanity marches further into the depths of expressive individualism and the repercussions of the sexual revolution, the celebration of womanhood becomes more and more complex. In 2023, it isn’t enough to appreciate women for their contributions to society as leaders, activists, thinkers, wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters — because even being a biological woman isn’t enough to warrant celebration on International Women’s Day anymore.

Supposedly in recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the Biden administration presented Alba Rueda, a man who identifies as a transgender woman, with an International Women of Courage Award at a White House ceremony. Rueda received the award on account of being the first transgender-identifying individual to hold a senior role in the Argentinian government.

In the same ceremony, the Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award was symbolically given to the women and girl protestors of Iran. The State Department explains, “The September 16 death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, visiting Tehran from her home in Kurdistan, while in the custody of Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police,’ sparked months of grassroots, women-led protests across Iran’s 31 provinces.”

Though celebrated in the same award ceremony, the examples of Alba Rueda and the females of Iran could not possibly be more diametrically opposed. There is nothing courageous about a man masquerading as a woman; there is nothing worth celebrating about slowly but surely erasing the prevalence of authentically female role models in the public square. In 2023, as gender ideology eats away at the concept of womanhood, young American women more than ever need to be reminded of what real female courage looks like.

On the other side of the world, the women of Iran have no choice but to understand courage.

Since the 1979 Revolution, when the Islamic Republic established authority in Iran, women and girls have been treated as second class citizens, forced to abide by strict clothing standards and prevented from receiving an equal education to their male counterparts. Iranian girls are prevented from learning STEM subjects in school and can be legally married at the age of nine, which often marks the end of their formal education.

Even young Iranian women who do remain in school face intimidation and violence intended to curb their attendance. Recent reports out of Iran have detailed more than 1,000 cases of female students at schools and universities experiencing toxic gas attacks. Many young Iranian women were hospitalized after being overwhelmed by a poisonous, suffocating smell that left them feeling ill. At a press conference, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi dismissed concerns about the vast number of attacks, claiming that over 90% of the girls who were poisoned were merely exhibiting symptoms of stress and paranoia about the few real poisonings.

In the past year, since the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian women have displayed unimaginable courage at great personal risk — all for the sake of fighting for future generations of women to be treated with the human dignity that they deserve. Joined by likeminded men, Iranian women have burned their hijabs in the streets and taken to social media to demand that the world recognize the atrocities being committed against the female sex under the radical Islamic Republic’s regime.

Tragically, the consequences of fighting back against oppression have been severe for Iranian protestors. Horrifying reports detail the sexual violence and human rights violations that women, girls, and supportive males suffer in Iranian prisons for speaking out against the oppression of women. Yet, despite facing torture, rape, violence, and death, the women of Iran have refused to be silent in the face of misogynistic oppression.

It would be insulting to equivocate the oppression of women living under radical Islam to the struggles of American females fighting back against gender ideology; however, the example of Iranian courage is one that American women should observe and cling to as we fight to preserve the definition of “woman” against those who would see it erased.

In 2023, many parts of the world have come a long way in recognizing the inherent equality and value of all humans, regardless of their sex. In the United States, women and girls are blessed to remain free from the constraints of radical Islam and the threat of state-sponsored violence as enforcement of extreme modesty. However, as President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is a fragile thing, and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.” Even in the face of state-sponsored gender ideology, American women must never back down from preserving our dignity, opportunities, and private spaces.