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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 – Democracy

"Tuned to the law, Muslim societies are historically and structurally receptive to democracy's motto of 'government of law not of men' ". - Faith and Freedom

"Religious zeal makes democracy problematic because it turns every attempt at understand and compromise - the hallmarks of democracy - into an evidentiary test of religious righteousness." - Rights of Passage

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 – Political Participation

"Quotas are a good starting point. But they are not the end-goal." - Mauritania Moves Toward Political Empowerment of Women

"Women’s representation in political life worldwide is less than 14 per cent" - Women's Conference Opens in Jordan

"Activism women realize that awareness of rights is the first step in gaining a political voice and the political power to gain rights." - Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation