Boundaries of Expression podcast #FreeToProtest: When women speak out

Boundaries of Expression podcast #FreeToProtest: When women speak out - Civic Space

In the second episode of our podcast series on the right to protest, ARTICLE 19 focuses on women taking to the streets to protect their rights in Iran and Poland. 

Over the past two years, there has been an alarming retreat from the defence of women’s reproductive rights. Poland introduced a near total ban on abortion in 2020. In the US, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade last summer, ending the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years. 

But this sea change has triggered remarkable protest movements. In Poland, the Polish Women’s Strike was at the vanguard. Nationwide, hundreds of thousands came out to defend their rights in the largest protests since the fall of communism. 

In Iran, the death of Mahsa Amini in September sparked unprecedented demonstrations across the Islamic Republic, after she was arrested by the morality police for not following the obligatory dress code. ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ is the slogan of the protest movement. But this uprising has also become a call for wider radical change, as the government cracks down on the demonstrations. 

We hear from Maziar Bahari, founder of IranWire – the first outlet to break the story of Mahsa Amini’s death. We also speak to Marta Lempart, founder of the Polish Women’s Strike.


Presented and produced by Jo Glanville

Reported and produced by Nicola Kelly

Mixed at Bison Studios, London


This is part of the Boundaries of Expression podcast series. Developed by guest editors, the series explores the limits and challenges to freedom of expression and focuses on some of the most controversial and divisive issues of our time.

More Boundaries of Expression:

Boundaries of Expression podcast #FreeToProtest: Climate action


Listen to Jo Glanville’s Boundaries of Expression podcasts:

Restrictions on right to abortion bring new threat to free speech in US

Restrictions on the right to abortion: A global shift?

The spy in your pocket

The UK Human Rights Act

Why the right to protest matters

The right to truth


Read the essays:

Why the right to truth matters

Why the right to protest matters

Are some rights more equal than others?

Spyware threatens everyone’s right to free expression


Listen to Silenced podcast series, telling the stories of journalists and activists around the world whose governments attempt to rein them in and cover up the truth. Maltese journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia and Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk are among Nicola Kelly’s guests.