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In the New Tunisia, Women’s Rights Are in Play

Friday, November 4, 2011

In the New Tunisia, Women’s Rights Are in Play

Mahnaz Afkhami knows how tenuous women’s rights can be and how fragile gains in status too often are. “Women’s rights and democracy activists are seriously concerned that the [Ennahda] party will act differently once in power.”

She saw a generation of advances rolled back in a short time in Iran, and testified this week about the role and potential of women in the Arab spring before a Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee on democracy, human rights and women’s issues.

“Egypt and Tunisia are prime examples of countries where progress towards women’s equality may be undone without America’s firm and increased commitment,” Afkhami told the senators.

Challenging the Architecture of Human Relations

Monday, April 18, 2011

Challenging the Architecture of Human Relations

“The essential problem in relation to our predicament as women, but also with our world, is the architecture of human relations – a system of social organization that is based on hierarchy. This architecture is all pervasive from the family to the state and it holds across the world. We decided that we cannot “fix” what ails women without attending to what ails the world”. Mahnaz Afkhami talks to Deniz Kandiyoti.

One Year After Neda, 9500 Liberty, True Colors

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Year After Neda, 9500 Liberty, True Colors

New America Media / By Sandip Roy / Listen
A year after the controversial elections in Iran, what is the status of the opposition movement? Mahnaz Afkahmi speaks of the women who were at the forefront of protests, and of the regime’s attempt to behead the democratic movement. Indeed almost all activists from the June 2009 protests have been imprisoned, harassed, or tortured. Those who were released from prison and allowed to travel were then often tried in absentia and heavily sentenced, effectively condemning them to exile.

Leading to Action:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Leading to Action:

A Political Participation Handbook for Women
Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women2010 / Women’s Learning Partnership / Bethesda, MD
Mahnaz Afkhami & Ann Eisenberg
In consultation with: Lina Abou Habib, Asma Khader, Sindi Medar-Gould, and Jacqueline Pitanguy

Women’s participation is a critical step towards reshaping economic, political, and social conditions to allow for equality in opportunities and results for both women and men. The Leading to Action handbook was designed empower women to become democratic and participatory leaders. Whether the goal is to be elected to office, support a campaign, encourage women to vote, or secure better legislation for the community, this handbook helps women hone their skills to take the next political step. Scenarios are based on criteria set by WLP partners and give real life examples of successes and challenges women face in the political sphere. The appendices include a glossary of terms, extra sessions, and relevant United Nations conventions that support women’s civil and political rights.

CNN’s Amanpour: Panel Discussion with Activists on Women’s Rights in the Middle East

Monday, March 8, 2010

CNN’s Amanpour: Panel Discussion with Activists on Women’s Rights in the Middle East

CNN / By Christiane Amanpour / Part 2; Part 3
Women’s rights have advanced in many Muslim countries, but women still suffer from more inequality than anywhere else. Joining Christiane Amanpour are three women who’ve made it their mission to promote gender equality: the president and CEO of the Women’s Learning Partnership, Mahnaz Afkhami, she’s a former minister for women’s affairs in Iran; Asma Khader, who is secretary general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women and a former culture minister; and Lina Abou Habib, executive director of a Lebanese organization that tries to empower women.

A Beaten Path

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Beaten Path

In The Berlin Journal (Number 18 Fall 2009)
It is not Islam that holds women back; it is the road of patriarchy Muslim nations have taken.

Culture, Democracy, and Women’s Human Rights in Muslim Majority Societies

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At The American Academy in Berlin / Watch
The most taxing contradiction women leaders in Muslim countries face today is the one between the demands of modernity and the requirements of tradition as determined in advance 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 women.

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…

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