[T]he 2015 summit’s “Women’s Rights Award” was given to Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, the creator of a Facebook page titled “My Stealthy Freedom,” which shows pictures of Iranian women without hijabs. The page now has nearly 770,000 Facebook likes.
Addressing summit attendees before the awards ceremony, Alinejad said she was forced to wear a headscarf from the time she started going to school, aged seven. She explained that, to her, a headscarf is not just a small issue and it is not “just a piece of cloth,” but a way of quietening her voice and the voices of other Iranian women.
“Every time when I was running or walking in a free country and feeling the wind through my hair it just reminds me that for 35 years I didn’t have this freedom,” the journalist told the assembled activists, adding that her “hair was like a hostage in the hands of the Iranian government.”
During her acceptance speech, Alinejad said that she had ruminated carefully about whether to travel to Switzerland to accept the prize. “For Iranian journalists or for Iranian civil rights activists it is normal to be scared,” she said, adding that being Iranian and talking about human rights “comes with accusations.” However, Alinejad said that she had eventually come to a simple realization: “Whether you speak out or not they’re going to label you.”
And here she is: