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Oct 1, 2022-2022


School Girls in Iran



Iranian school girls


Iranian authorities


Women’s rights should be respected.


Issue and Opponent: Protests erupted across Iran after 22-year-old Mahsa (Jina) Amini’s death on September 16, following her arrest by morality policy for “improperly” wearing her headscarf. Since then, many groups have taken to the streets to protest for women’s rights, especially young girls. The Middle East nation has seen mass anti-regime protests nationwide in September and October 2022.
Dilemma Action: Schoolgirls have emerged as a powerful force after videos went viral of classrooms of pupils waving their hijabs in the air, taking down pictures of Iran’s supreme leaders, and shouting anti-regime slogans in support of Mahsa Amini. Dozens of videos posted online show schoolgirls protesting in their schools and the streets, chanting, waving, and burning their head coverings. Yet the deadly repression appears to have fueled outrage among the younger population. Videos circulated on social media show that in Saqez, the home of Mahsa Amini, scores of schoolgirls marched through the streets in protest, while girls in Karaj crowded a man, evidently an official, out of their school gate, chanting “Dishonorable.” In another video posted on Twitter, schoolgirls remove their head coverings and chant against a man who appears to be a member of the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary force that is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who had come to the school to speak about the Mahsa Amini protests. In a country where expressing autonomy as a woman can result in death, the actions of these schoolgirls to demand freedom and equality is heart-stoppingly brave. The message also included Iranian women in the country and around the world, not only schoolgirls.
Outcome: The Iranian authorities responded by launching a series of raids on schools across the country last week, with reports of officers forcing their way into classrooms, violently arresting schoolgirls and pushing them into waiting cars, and firing teargas into school buildings. No concessions were made for them. Nika Shakarami was 16 when she burned her headscarf at a Tehran protest. She was last seen alive on September 20 being followed by security forces. The government claims she fell from a building, the same fate as another protester, Sarina Esmailzadeh, also 16, who allegedly fell to her death in Karaj, west of the capital on September 24. According to media reports, both families were pressured not to contradict the official story. At least 23 minors were killed by the unlawful use of force during the protests between September 20 and 30, but they continue to protest against the regime.


Civil Rights and Equality
Human rights
National/ethnic identity


Protest disrobings

Symbolic reclamations

Wearing of symbols



7 / 12

(MC) Media Coverage

(MSYMP) Media coverage was sympathetic to the activists

(OR) Opponent response

(PUN) Punishment favored the activists

(REFR) Dilemma action reframed the narrative of the opponent

(RF) Dilemma action reduced fear and/or apathy among the activists

(SA) Dilemma action appealed to a broad segment of the public


3 / 3

Activist group continued working together after the action

Encouraged more participants to join the movement

Internally replicated by the same movement


Project documentation

Dilemma Actions Coding Guidebook

Case study documentation


CC BY 4.0 Deed, Attribution 4.0 International


Ukraini, Sofia. 2022. Twitter, October 4. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://twitter.com/slavauk30722777/status/1577184967695532034?s=46&t=21_hLhVZqf5E1bBX0gQNZQ

Bill Van Esveld and Elaheh Sajadi. 2022. “In Iran, Schoolgirls Leading Protests for Freedom.” Human Rights Watch, October 12. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://twitter.com/slavauk30722777/status/1577184967695532034?s=46&t=21_hLhVZqf5E1bBX0gQNZQ

Parent, Deepa and Annie Kelly. 2022. “Iranian schoolgirl ‘beaten to death for refusing to sing’ pro-regime anthem.” The Guardian, October 18. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/oct/18/iranian-schoolgirl-beaten-to-death-for-refusing-to-sing-pro-regime-anthem

Iran International Newsroom. 2022. “Protests, Government Attack On Schoolgirls, Mark Friday In Iran.” Iran International, October 14. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://www.iranintl.com/en/202210144482

von Hein, Shabnam. 2022. “Deaths of Iranian schoolgirls further stoke public fury.” DW, October 19. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://www.dw.com/en/iran-deaths-of-schoolgirls-further-stoke-public-fury/a-63494532

Anon. 2022. “High school girls join Iran protests on Day 18.” NCRI Women Commitee, October 3. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://women.ncr-iran.org/2022/10/03/high-school-girls-join-iran-protests/

Anon. 2022. “WATCH: Iranian school girls rip up regime textbooks, join protests.” The Jerusalem Post, October 26. Retrieved July 22, 2023. https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/iran-news/article-720624

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