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Against All Odds: Women Partnering for Change in a Time of Crisis

Thu, Mar 8, 2007

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VOA / By Julie Vahdati

A WOMAN’S WORLD Presents Against All Odds
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These are trying times for women in many parts of the world. War, violence, extremism, fundamentalism, and restrictive legislation are but the most striking of the hurdles women must overcome as they strive for the most rudimentary of rights. “Against All Odds; Women partnering for Change in a Time of Crisis” tells the stories of women activists from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who, working in partnership, have developed and implemented strategies to overcome these challenges.

The 25-minute documentary was produced by the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP), a woman’s advocacy organization. It was founded in 2000 by Mahnaz Afkhami with support from a group of women leaders from Muslim-majority countries.

The WLP now works with eighteen partner organizations in the Global South, particularly in Muslim-majority areas. “Against All Odds; Women partnering for Change in a Time of Crisis” airs this week on “A Woman’s World”.

For more information about the Women’s Learning Partnership, you can visit their web site at: www.learningpartnership.org

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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 – Human Rights

"We must pose the question: why is it that the denial of the most rudimentary rights to civil treatment for women is always based on some fundamental point of culture? Is this culture real, or is it a fetish that is used to maintain some economic, social, or simply psychological privilege?" - A Vision of Gender in Culture

"Women's status in society has become the standard by which humanity's progress toward civility and peace can be measured." - Architects for Peace

"The crass infringement of women's rights we see in the Muslim world has more to do with power, patriarchy, and misuse of religion as political weapon than with religion properly understood as individual faith." - Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women's Human Rights

"Rights and empowerment are interconnected: unless a substantial number of women in a community come to believe that they have rights and demand to exercise them, right remains an abstraction." - Faith and Freedom

Quotables – Muslim Women

"The most taxing contradiction [Muslim women] face casts the demands of living in the contemporary world against the requirements of tradition as determined and advanced by the modern Islamist world view. At the center of this conflict is the dilemna of Muslim women’s human rights – whether Muslim women have rights because they are human beings, or whether they have rights because they are Muslim" - Faith and Freedom: Introduction

"To the extent that Islam, defined and interpreted by traditionalist "Muslim" men, is allowed to determine the context and contour of the debate on women's rights, women will be on the losing side of the debate because the conclusion is already contained in the premise and reflected in the process. This is the heart of the moral tragedy of Muslim societies in our time." - Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women's Human Rights

“Islam is not the problem. Rather it is the misuse of Islam by interpreting it to fit the needs of the partriarchal order - the powers that be - and the privileges that one gender has held over the other.” - How are women working to eliminate violence against women in Muslim-majority societies?