International Women’s Day: Awakening the Sheerzan (Lioness)
For Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we are proud to introduce the new Sheerzan Necklace in solidarity of Iranian women fighting for freedom and equality. The word Sheerzan, translates to Lioness in Persian and through the symbolism of a lioness, we want to inspire strength, bravery, determination.
Every detail of this pendant is significant. An Iranian warrior woman on a lion, sword held aloft, hair flowing like a mane – she is a symbol of female strength, particularly in Iran, where women have been fighting for their freedom with indefatigable courage for decades. With the sun blazing behind her like a beacon, the Iranian warrior woman exists in solidarity with all Iranian women fighting for their rights. Her hair is prominently displayed to show support for the women who have cut their hair in protest. 100% of proceeds from the sale of this powerful piece will be donated to the IDC, The Iranian Diaspora, an organization advocating for Iranians in Iran.
The Iranian Diaspora Collective supports the demands of Iranians inside Iran who want a free, secular democracy, a new constitution and an end to theocracy. In September 2022, the death of Mahsa Zhina Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman brutally beaten to death by the “morality police” in Tehran for showing her hair beneath her hijab, sparked a revolution in response to the continuous oppression and injustices women face in Iran. Ever since, the people of Iran continue to fight for their freedoms and dismantle Iran's tyrannical regime.
The IDC, is a nonpartisan, multi-faith group that aims to amplify voices inside of Iran and to report factual, on-the-ground information. The organization was founded by Moj Mahdara, Roya Rastegar, Mandy Ansari, Farnaz Dadashi, and Nicolette Mason and we sat down with Moj and Roya to talk about freedom and what’s next for IDC.
AWE: Tell us about your relationship with Iran?
Roya: My family has been living in exile for 43 years. I hold fast to my Iranian identity. My dream is to go back to Iran. The current freedom movement in Iran is fighting for a secular, democratic government in Iran, to replace the current dictatorship of the Islamic Republic. For the first time in my life, I think my dream may come true.
AWE: What does women’s freedom mean to you?
M&R: Freedom for women means freedom for everyone. If all women were truly free, we would all be free. When we say “all women” we mean this as capaciously as possible. Across race, class, gender expression, sexuality, nationality, ability, and age.
AWE: What inspires you to fight for women’s freedom?
M&R: The Woman, Life, Freedom movement is a decades long movement that Kurdish women started. We are inspired by this movement because it sees these three things - Woman, Life, and Freedom - as connected. To fight for women also means to fight for the conditions that make life possible on this earth. This includes fighting for climate change, wildlife, and the protection of natural resources. This includes fighting for the rights of workers.This includes fighting for everyone’s right to be able to live safely, and create a life of their own design, with joy.
AWE: What is your greatest hope for the women of Iran?
M&R: The freedom movement in Iran is particularly inspiring because it is being led by women and girls, in solidarity with men and boys, in coalition with students of all ages, journalists, human rights activists, healthcare workers, artists, musicians, factory workers, business people, and more. There has never been such an intersectional coming together across minority and ethnic groups, different class backgrounds, and professional backgrounds in Iran. It is a very important and historic moment, led by Iranian youth who will pave Iran’s future.
AWE: How can non Iranian people support the women in Iran?
M&R: More than anything, we need non-Iranian people to see the freedom movement in Iran as their movement too. This is a movement for everyone - women, men, gender non-conforming people, LGBTQ people, wildlife and environmental activists, and everyone in between. There is no peace in the world while dictators of terrorist regimes are in power. The Islamic Republic of Iran needs to be overthrown.
AWE: How do you see IDC evolving, what’s next?
M&R: Right now we are working on a few key projects, one of which is ensuring internet connectivity for Iranians. One of the suppression tactics of the Iranian Regime is to cut off internet access, and block different social media sites. This is their way of controlling the narrative and stopping Iranian people from telling the truth about what is really happening inside the country. Telling their stories through social media has been a primary way the people inside Iran are able to garner support for their freedom movement from people outside of Iran. So maintaining that internet connection is key!
When you wear this necklace, you are supporting Iranian women who are fearlessly fighting for freedom and equality. You are also supporting the IDC’s efforts to promote equity for all marginalized groups, including women and ethnic, religious and gender/sexual minorities in Iran.