Chess is a male-dominated sport. There are a few women who play competitively and even fewer who rise to the level of international fame in that field.
Nazi Paikidze is an exception. Despite being one of the few millennial breakout stars, the 22-year old is protesting one of the most important matches of her life to highlight Iran’s women’s rights abuses.
She has a big problem with the 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship being held in Iran. The Middle Eastern nation is demanding that all players wear a hijab and Paikidze has since refused.
“Some consider a hijab part of culture,” Paikidze wrote on Instagram Friday. “But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.”
This is a post for those who don't understand why I am boycotting FIDE's decision. I think it's unacceptable to host a WOMEN'S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens. For those saying that I don't know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day. Thank you MyStealthyFreedom for sharing my interview.
She didn’t stop there, Paikidze also created a Change.org campaign to demand that the World Chess Federation revoke Iran’s invitation to host the match because of their treatment towards women.
“A message to the people of Iran,” Paikdize wrote on Instagram Tuesday. “I am not anti-Islam or any other religion. I stand for freedom of religion and choice. ✌️ I’m protesting FIDE’s decision not because of Iran’s religion or people, but for the government’s laws that are restricting my rights as a woman. My personal experiences with Iranian people have been nothing but wonderful ❣️ One day I hope to visit Iran and see women having complete freedom and equality.”