It has been a century since Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent movement for Indian independence. This movement proved to the world that the only path to victory in a peoples’ struggle is through nonviolence. There have been many violent movements during the last century that failed from the onset. That is why Gandhi states, “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.”
Nonviolent movements are not possible without the presence of women. They have not been, and will continue not to be possible without women’s involvement. Who can deny the effects of Madeleine Slade, a woman who left the United Kingdom and joined Gandhi’s movement after changing her name to Mirabehn, on India’s independence victory? Why did Gandhi ask women to participate in his Salt March, and why did Martin Luther King, who was inspired by Gandhi, ask for the presence of women of color in America’s Civil Rights Movement? Can we separate the name of Rosa Parks from the American Civil Rights Movement? How about Ella Baker?
This issue of Zannegaar explores a few instances of women’s involvement in nonviolent movements throughout the world, and explains how these women overcame their struggles. The academic adviser for this issue is Sahar Namazikhah, a PhD candidate at George Mason University and Director of Iran Programs at the George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution through Nonviolence International.