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Claiming Our Rights:

Monday, January 1, 1996

A Manual for Women’s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies
claimingourrights1996 / Sisterhood Is Global Institute / Bethesda, MD

Co-authored with Haleh Vaziri; Published in Arabic, Azeri, Bangla, English, Hindi, Malay, Persian, Russian, Urdu and Uzbek; Introduction available online.

“A manual that, unlike traditional human rights law, reconceives rights as also relevant in religious and cultural spheres, not just in the public sphere.” – Madhavi Sunder, The Yale Law Journal

It is only when women reclaim their own cultures, interpreting texts and traditions in self-empowering ways, that women may truly claim…

Claiming Our Rights: Introduction

Monday, January 1, 1996

claimingourrightsThe purpose of this human rights education manual is to facilitate transmission of the universal human rights concepts inscribed in the major international documents to grass roots populations in Muslim societies. The manual seeks to enable grass roots populations to convey universal concepts in association with indigenous ideas, traditions, myths, and texts rendered in local idiom. It aims to empower grassroots women to articulate and demand their human rights through interactive communication at home and through the political process in the community and society.

Faith and Freedom:

Sunday, January 1, 1995

Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World
faith1995 / Syracuse University Press and I.B. Tauris / Edited

“A gripping combination of serious scholarship and popularising” – MESA Bulletin

Faith and Freedom is the first detailed study to emphasize Muslim women’s rights as human rights and to explore the existing patriarchal structures and processes that present women’s human rights as contradictory to Islam. Academics and activists, most of whom live in the Muslim world, discuss the major issues facing women of the region as they enter the twenty-first century. They demonstrate how the cultural segregation of women, and the monopoly on the interpretation…

Faith and Freedom: Introduction

Sunday, January 1, 1995

faithPart I of this two-part volume addresses the patriarchal structures and processes that present women’s human rights as contradictory to Islam. It examines how social and cultural segregation of women, contradictory and conflicting legal codes, and the monopoly held by a select group of male theologians on interpretation of religious texts result in domestic and political violence against women and in suppression of their rights. It also focuses on ways and means of empowering Muslim women to participate in the general socialization process as well as in making, implementing, and evaluating public policy. In Part II the book presents concrete examples to demonstrate the kind, nature, and intensity of problems women face in contemporary Muslim societies. The stories generally corroborate Anne Mayer’s thesis that Muslim women’s predicament is significantly exacerbated by government hypocrisy.

Allah and Freud are against them: Shusha Guppy is fascinated and saddened by a new survey of Iranian women’s lives

Saturday, August 6, 1994

The Independent / Book Review by Shusha Guppy
DURING THE upheavals that led to the 1979 revolution in Iran, women’s support is supposed to have been the decisive factor in the overthrow of the Shah and the seizure of power by Ayatollah Khomeini. Every day in the news we saw images of women wrapped in black chador shaking their fists and shrieking slogans, like birds of bad omen in a horror movie. This was all the more astonishing as Iranian women were among the most emancipated in the Islamic world.

Women and the Law in Iran (1967-1978)

Friday, July 1, 1994

womenandthelawiniran1994 / Women’s Center of the Foundation for Iranian Studies / Bethesda, MD

A compilation with introduction; In Persian

Women and the Law in Iran (1967-1978) contains seven treaties and legal texts that were published by the Women’s Organization of Iran between 1973 and 1976 as well as the texts of laws and regulations…

Women in Exile: A Prologue

Friday, April 1, 1994

cover_WomenInExileAlong with the loss of our culture and home comes the loss of the traditional patriarchal structures that flouted our lives in our own land. The pain of breaking out of our cultural cocoon brings with it the possibility of an expanded universe and a freer, more independent self. We are all “damaged,” but we repair ourselves into larger, deeper, more humane personalities. Indeed, the similarities between our lives as women and as women in exiles supersede every other experience we have encountered as members of different countries, classes, cultures, professions, and religions. We echo each other when we say the world is our home and repeat wistfully that it means we have no home. We talk of having gained identification with a more universal cause. We have also learned firsthand that nothing is worth the suffering, death, and destruction brought about by ideologies that in their fervor uproot so much and destroy so many and then fade away, blow up, or self-destruct.

Birds Without Nests

Friday, April 1, 1994

By Nan Levinson Women in Exile, by Mahnaz Afkhami, Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994, 208 pp., $35.00 hardcover, $12.95 paper. “My earliest memories are of unrest and chaos,” says Ho Ngoc Tran, a doctor, who flees Vietnam in 1978, trusting her life to smugglers with a boat and eventually making her way to […]

Women in Exile

Friday, April 1, 1994

cover_WomenInExile1994 / The University Press of Virginia / Charlottesville, VA

Edited and Prologue

“a sad, lovely, horrifying, heroic book.”– Women’s Review of Books

Women in Exile presents an intimate portrait of 13 activist women’s flight from oppression, and …

Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran: A Feminist Perspective

Saturday, January 1, 1994

intheeyeofthestormChapter 1 of In The Eye of The Storm: Women in Post-revolutionary Iran
What is to be understood from this brief history? First, traditional societies oppress women everywhere. Second, Iranian women achieved the rights they possessed at the beginning of the Islamic revolution through their own hard and persistent effort. Third, without the support of the modernizing state and its political organs, women’s rights are unattainable in an Islamic society. Fourth, women achieved these rights outside the sphere of traditional Shii Islam and against the will of the Shii religious leaders. Fifth, once rights have been achieved, they settle into the society’s collective psyche creating a new set of historical conditions and thereafter cannot be easily dislodged. In the final analysis, therefore, achieving women’s rights in Iran depends on achieving and dispensing political power.

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

Books Display

Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for WomenWomen State & SocietyToward A Compassionate SocietyLeading to ChoicesSafe and SecureMuslim Women and the Politics of ParticipationClaiming Our RightsFaith and FreedomWomen and the Law in IranWomen in ExileIn the Eye of the Storm coverWomen in Exile (Spanish version)Women in Exile (Turkish version)IRANHandbookENGLeading To Choices Multimedia Pack
"The conditions women have in common outrank and outvalue those that set them apart." - Faith and Freedom

"Iran’s One Million Signatures Campaign for the Reform of Discriminatory Laws is an extraordinary phenomenon. It is democratic, nonhierarchical, open, and evolving in a polity that is none of those things." - Iranian Women’s One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality: The Inside Story, Foreword

"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

"We must be bold and creative, our feet firmly grounded in the realities that surround us, but our gaze aimed at the lofty possibilities that our advancements in science and technology promise and that our growth as a global society is only beginning to comprehend." - Toward A Compassionate Society
“A manual that, unlike traditional human rights law, reconceives rights as also relevant in religious and cultural spheres, not just in the public sphere.” – Claiming Our Rights, Madhavi Sunder, The Yale Law Journal

“A gripping combination of serious scholarship and popularising” – Faith and Freedom, MESA Bulletin

“A sad, lovely, horrifying, heroic book.”– Women In Exile, Women’s Review of Books