Past & Present Board Positions

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

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

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

A Woman in Exile

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

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