Started in 1985 as a part-time initiative and formalised as a full-time organisation in 1995, Simorgh is a non-government, non-profit, feminist/activist organisation. Formed in 1985 in response to military rule and the promulgation of retrogressive and discriminatory legislation, Simorgh’s main focus is research and dissemination of information that will enable women and men to challenge the dominance of ideas that support social and economic divisions on the basis of gender, class, religion, race and nationality.
Simorgh acknowledges the fact that while women’s oppression cuts across class, race, religion, age, nationality and the politics of economic arrangements, it cannot be separated from these issues. Thus, while recognising the interconnections between gender subordination and other forms of oppression, and taking into account the systemic discriminations in our own society, we do not discount the fact that income gains in the developed capitalist countries have resulted partly from the political manipulation and impoverishment of the Third World.
Simorgh subscribes to the view that biological difference plays a minimal role in the behavioural patterns of women and men and that gender differences are the result of cultural conditioning. Recognising the systemic nature of women’s oppression and violence against women, Simorgh believes that individuals, and their everyday actions create social life and are therefore crucial to social change.
As women must themselves play a major role in bringing about the changes that they seek, they must possess not only knowledge, skills and economic independence, but also an awareness of the role that the dominant culture, in collusion with the divisions of class, religion and ethnicity plays in keeping them in their present position.
Simorgh’s position may be said to comprise the materialist view of society, enlarged by feminism. However, we have consciously avoided putting ourselves into any existing category, as defined by Western feminists. We believe that we have to develop our own approach to our problems in accordance with our historical and socio-economic needs. Therefore, we see our work as a continuous process entailing a constant evaluation of our position.