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Archive | Biography

Past & Present Board Positions

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

International Advisory Group, AWID: 1998-2000 Board of Trustees, Farah University for Women, Iran: 1976-1979 Board of Trustees, Foundation for Iranian Studies: 1996-Present Board of Trustees, Freer and Sackler Galleries: 2012-Present Advisory Board,The Global Fund for Women: 1998-2007 Steering Committee, Women Waging Peace Initiative, Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School […]

Early Inspiration

Wednesday, December 31, 1980

Mahnaz was born in 1941 in Kerman, Iran to a traditional family. At age thirteen, Mahnaz’s mother, an independent-minded woman, brought her to the United States. By seventeen Mahnaz had joined a trade union and challenged successfully a breach of her rights, and the seeds of activism were sown…

A Season of Change

Tuesday, December 30, 1980

In 1967 Mahnaz returned to Iran to teach literature at the National University. Together with her students she founded the Association of University Women. In 1970 she became secretary general of the Women’s Organization of Iran, and in 1975 became Iran’s Cabinet Minister for Women’s Affairs. Under her leadership, the family protection laws, first enacted in 1967, were revised to ensure women’s equal access to divorce and child custody, the minimum marriage age for girls was raised, and laws supporting working women were passed

Revolution and Regression

Monday, December 29, 1980

formalThe rights and visibility of Iranian women became one of the main points of contention for the fundamentalist opposition to the Shah’s regime. After the 1979 Revolution, the extremists overturned much that the women’s movement had achieved

A Woman in Exile

Sunday, December 28, 1980

cover_WomenInExileThe revolutionary government confiscated Mahnaz’s house and all signs of her personal history and her individual experience. The Ayatollahs put her on the death list, charging her with “corruption on earth and warring with God.” She was forced into exile

Preserving Iran’s Culture and Heritage

Saturday, December 27, 1980

3iranianwomenIn 1981 Mahnaz and her colleagues opened the Foundation for Iranian Studies, an educational and research center dedicated to the preservation, study, and transmission of Iran’s cultural heritage, much of which was threatened by the revolutionary government

Taking It Global

Friday, December 26, 1980

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

Birth of Women’s Learning Partnership

Thursday, December 25, 1980

Mahnaz founded the Women’s Learning Partnership to help empower women to re-imagine and restructure their lives in their families, communities, and societies. She co-authored Leading to Choices, a manual adapted into seventeen languages and used by women in over 30 countries to develop democratic leadership skills

Work of a Lifetime

Wednesday, December 24, 1980

matutuMahnaz’s leadership has helped enable women to build sustainable organizations and new lives for themselves and their families

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