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Taking It Global

Fri, Dec 26, 1980

Biography

globalwomenIn developing a new identity and rebuilding her life in a new country, Mahnaz derived strength from the international women’s movement and rebuilt her ties to the network that had supported and sustained her work at home.

She joined the advisory board of the women’s division of Human Rights Watch, the first of several human rights organizations she became associated with. She helped build the Sisterhood Is Global Institute, which she served for over ten years as vice-president, executive director, and president. She used her experience working with women in villages, factories, and universities in Iran, and her explorations of faith and freedom in the first association she founded with university women to build a network of Muslim women activists and leaders.

They worked collaboratively to develop leadership for women and to expand the capacity of their communities to organize civil society, defend human rights, promote tolerance, and create a culture of peace. The manuals she co-authored on human rights education, Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women’s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies and Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies, use culture friendly materials and dialogue-based methodologies. They have been adapted and translated into twelve languages and are unique vehicles for this type of training.

They are being used to train tens of thousands of human rights activists on three continents. Philosopher/sociologist Fatema Mernissi calls Claiming Our Rights “a pedagogical breakthrough.” Feminist leader Gloria Steinem praises the book, saying its “personal, practical, consciousness-raising approach [is] the most powerful.”

Read on: Birth of Women’s Learning Partnership

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About Mahnaz Afkhami

A lifetime advocate for the rights of women, Mahnaz Afkhami works with activists across the world, especially in Muslim majority societies, to help women become leaders. She is Founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), Executive Director of Foundation for Iranian Studies...more

Quotables – Movement Building

"The conditions women have in common outrank and outvalue those that set them apart." - Faith and Freedom

“International movement building in the 21st century and involvement of youth in advocacy will be made possible largely through technology" - Engendering IT Tools