Mahnaz Afkhami – Iran

Linked with the presentation of Searching for the Sources of the Self.

Born in Kerman, Iran, Mahnaz Afkhami is a leading proponent of women’s rights in the Islamic world. She is president of Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) and executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies. She chaired the English department at the National University of Iran, founded the Association of Iranian University Women, and served as secretary general of the Women’s Organization of Iran and minister of state for women’s affairs prior to the Islamic revolution. She is the author of many books on women’s roles in the Islamic world, including Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies. (See scu.edu).

Mahnaz Afkhami – Iran

Ferdows Naficy and her two daughters, Mahnaz and Farah became independent women in America. When Ferdows decided to emigrate to the U.S., she opened the door for her daughters to later join her in California. Both would later return to Iran as adults, where they would be torn apart by Iranian politics during the reign of the shah. Mahnaz became a minister in the shah’s government and advocated for women’s rights, while Farah and her husband joined the cause of the revolution. Ultimately, Mahnaz and Farah had to flee Iran in fear for their lives. This is the lastest update from Mahnaz and Farah. (See pbs.org).

In exile in the United States, she has been a leading advocate for women’s rights for more than three decades. She serves on the boards and steering committees of several international organizations, including the World Movement for Democracy, the Commission on Globalization, the Global Fund for Women, the International League for Human Rights, and Women’s Human Rights Net. She has made numerous international radio and television appearances, including interviews on Australian Radio, the BBC, German Radio Network, Swedish Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and CNN. Her publications include Women and the Law in Iran; In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran; Faith and Freedom: Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World; Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies; and Women in Exile. (See Omega Institute).

Ms. Afkhami has lectured and published extensively on the international women’s movement, women’s human rights, women in leadership, women and technology, and women, civil society, and democracy. Her publications have been widely translated and internationally distributed. Among them are Women and the Law in Iran (Foundation for Iranian Studies, 1993), In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Postrevolutionary Iran (Syracuse University Press, 1994), Women in Exile (University Press of Virginia, 1994), Faith and Freedom: Women’s Human Rights In the Muslim World (Syracuse University Press, 1995), Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women’s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute, 1996), Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation (Syracuse University Press, 1997), Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute, 1998), Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women (WLP, 2001), and Toward a Compassionate Society (WLP, 2002). (Read more on Realizing Rights).

Most recently she was President of Sisterhood Is Global Institute. Ms. Afkhami also serves on advisory boards and steering committees of a number of national and international organizations including Commission on Globalization, The Global Fund for Women, International League for Human Rights, Women’s Human Rights Net, Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, World Movement for Democracy, and Youth Employment Summit. Her numerous publications have been widely translated and distributed internationally. (See more on Iran Heritage Foundation).

Additionally,Ms.Afkhami has led numerous task forces on democratization,leadership,and women ’s human rights in the Global South including multinational delegations to the UN Human Rights Conference in Vienna (1993)and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995). Ms.Afkhami has lectured and published extensively on the international women ’s movement,women’s human rights,women in leadership,women and technology,and women,civil society,and democracy.Among Ms.Afkhami ’s publications,which have been widely translated and internationally distributed,are Women and the Law in Iran (Foundation for Iranian Studies,1993),In the Eye of the Storm:Women in Postrevolutionary Iran (Syracuse University Press,1994),Women in Exile (University Press of Virginia,1994),Faith and Freedom: Women ’s Human Rights In the Muslim World (Syracuse University Press,1995),Claiming Our Rights:A Manual for Women ’s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute,1996),Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation (Syracuse University Press,1997),Safe and Secure:Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies (Sisterhood Is Global Institute,1998),Leading to Choices:A Leadership Training Handbook for Women (WLP,2001),and Toward a Compassionate Society (WLP,2002). (See more on Persian Village.com).

INTERVIEW WITH MANAZ AFKHAMI (Excerpt): … Q: In your opinion, what are some examples of the common challenges to equal participation that women currently face around the world? – Women across the world are hampered by traditional views that their role should be limited to their activities in the private sphere, and as a complement to the public role designated for men. Unfortunately, culture, religion, and history are all used to reinforce this arrangement. As a result, many women not only do not see themselves as people who can potentially impact their own lives and the lives of their community and society, but they lack equal access to education. The majority of the nearly one billion illiterate people in the world are women. They do not have access to credit and they are hampered by unequal inheritance laws, and although they work on the average 36 hours more per week than men, they are paid less, if at all. As a result, by far the majority of the 2 billion people who live in utter poverty on less than one dollar a day are women. The challenge, therefore, is to create awareness of the detrimental effect of this division of roles and responsibilities on society as a whole. It is necessary to enhance people’s consciousness that women’s participation is not a luxury that will be achieved after a certain level of development is reached, but that women’s full participation is the pre-requisite to democratic participation and sustainable development. However, changing attitudes through raising consciousness is perhaps the hardest thing to do . . . (See the rest of this interview on World Movement for Democracy).

links:

Click here for a site with a video with Mahnaz Afkhami;

Learning partnership;

Maryam’s Net;

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