In Iran, women are still fighting for the right to see a game of volleyball. In an interview with Brazilian online magazine EPOCA (TIME), Iranian ex-minister in exile explains how the struggle for more rights in the country earned achievements over the years. In the episode of the game of volleyball (and Ghoncheh Ghavami), Afkhami believes the incessant media coverage may in some way, open the eyes of the regime. “We hope that the weight of condemnation from the international community to do with the Islamic Republic to reconsider their disregard for human rights, especially the rights of women.”
The pattern after the “Arab Spring” resembled very much the trajectory of the Iranian revolution, where liberal and progressive forces brought support and success to the uprisings but the better networked, resourced, and organized fundamentalist forces succeeded in taking over the governments. Women in Iran and in the Arab world sought progress, equality, and rights. The story is not finished yet. Regressive forces simply cannot sustain themselves over time in this stage of human development.
What hides behind gender-based violence is often a patriarchal society, where the struggle for equality can seem impossible.
As an Iranian, Mahnaz Afkhami understands this. In the 1970s she was named one of the world’s first-ever ministers of women’s affairs. She succeeded in changing the conditions for Iranian women, including investments in child care and paid maternity leave. Then came the revolution. [Text continues in Swedish…]
Público / Por Margarida Santos Lopes
Ms Afkhami details the interrelation between her career and the recent history of the women’s rights movement in Iran. The latest post-election protests leave her optimistic about the battle for freedom and justice. She believes that history is on the side of women.
Sabah / By Bilge Eser
“I didn’t choose politics; I chose women’s rights.” Mahnaz Afkhami looks back on her time as Minister of Women’s Affairs in Iran before the revolution and looks forward to the future of Iran, where she believes, “women are on the winning side which is the side of history.”
Corriere della Sera / By Allessandra Farkas
The first web revolution, led by women and bloggers
According to Mahnaz Afkhami, this is a revolution on the web since 70% of Iran’s population has access to the internet; and it is leading the upheaval on twitter, youtube and facebook. Women bloggers are the most strong-willed in the resulting network. In fact, women were the ones who, having declined to vote during the last election, pushed the conservative Moussavi to adopt more liberal position and thus chose him as a candidate.