Darya Safai

Darya Safai is an Iranian women’s rights activist and Belgian MP.

Born in Tehran, Safai lived under oppression as a woman in the Islamic Republic, an experience that inspired her to become a fearless women’s rights activist from a young age. While her participation in the 1999 Iran Student Protests forced her into exile after being imprisoned and released on bail, Safai never abandoned her crusade for the women of Iran.

In 2014 Safai founded “Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums,” a campaign to win women the right to attend sporting events in Iran. Two years later, she would make international headlines for being kicked out of a stadium at the Rio Olympics for holding up a banner for the cause. Ultimately, the campaign served as a symbol of the full-fledged discrimination and oppression of women in Iran, an issue exposed by the death of Mahsa Amini.

In 2022, Safai drew global acclaim for fearlessly speaking out against the Islamic Republic’s violent crackdown on the protests and for cutting her hair in solidarity with the women and girls of Iran.

In exile, Safai published two books, Running Against The Wind and Suddenly I Wasn’t Allowed To Laugh Anymore, which reflect her personal story as an activist in addition to the broader fight she has taken up for her sisters in Iran.



Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums with Darya Safai

Darya Safai, Iranian women’s rights campaigner and founder of Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums, addresses the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On growing up in Iran: “I grew up in the religious dictatorship of the Islamic Republic