Documentary, 90,52 min, 16:9, HD, Dolby, Iran, Norway, Lebanon
This is the story of Roghieh, a woman in Southern Iran who is trying to secure jobs for women in her community through a Bazaar she established and runs, where over 800 women work, but a local politician, the mayor, threatens her. He wants to destroy the Bazaar and build a big shopping mall.
This is the story of Roghieh, a woman 38 years old, who is the mother of 5 children. She was born in one of the remote villages of Minab, a small city in south of Iran where she grew up in a conservative, religious family. Roghieh married when she was 14 years old to her ex-husband, a drug-addict who abused her constantly. Soon, she started to earn money working in handcrafts and tailoring, believing that if her hand was in her pocket her husband can’t abuse her easily. She had a long way to divorce since she had to fight not only against her ex-husband, but also her family and the community in the small city where she lived.
Because of her own bitter experience in an environment with the highest rate of violence against women in Iran, she decided to support other women in their struggle for economic independence. Consequently, she founded the first women NGO – “Southern Women NGO” to support women who work in handcrafts, tailoring, cooking in their house, etc., in order to earn their own money. This NGO works with some 6.000 women in the southern province Hormozgan, by providing insurance and financial support for them.
Seven years ago Roghieh decided to create a common place for women street vendors who were working in different parts of the city and being threatened by the police officer who work for the municipality that doesn’t permit vendors to sit in the streets and sell their stuff. Roghieh rented some property from the municipality to run what became known as the Thursday Bazaar, organizing about a thousand women vendors.
According to municipal regulations in Iran, it is in the hands of the mayor to decide on how areas and properties like the Thursday Bazar should be run, to whom they should be rented or sold. Unfortunately, since in the meantime Bazaar’s property value has increased, the new mayor, Mr. Hosseini who came to power three years ago, wants to tear down the Bazaar and promote a shopping mall at the same site instead.
However, Roghieh has a contract with the municipality that ensures her, due to her investment in the Bazaar, that she can stay in it for 17 years. To “bypass” this problem, the mayor has filed a court complain against her arguing that she has occupied municipal land illegally.
In her struggle to preserve the Bazaar and hope for support, Roghieh travels to Tehran to meet with the vice president of Women Affairs and asks for meetings with the minister of labor, with no success. On the other side, the mayor has a powerful deal with the officers in the justice department in the city. So now, Roghieh is preparing for the court battle.
As a working woman, wife and mother, specially in Iran, Roghieh is facing even more responsibilities and conflicts at home. Her new husband, Aghil is a farmer who supports and follows her to lots of places, and tries to do housework. But sometimes he gives up, realizing that he lives with a busy woman who cares more about her dream and her work than her family. Also, her children think that she spends her time working too much. So she has to try to do her role as a wife and mother in the best way she can.