Tag Archive | "Human Rights"

Reflections on Women’s Security in Iran

Sunday, May 30, 2004

In Gozaar: A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran If human beings, including Iranian women, are to be free, which is an essential prerequisite of their security, they must be in a position to choose freely what to think, what to say, what to do, and, of course, how to relate, or not to relate, to God. This cannot be had if government and religion are one.

In Iraq, Women Fight A Separate War For Freedom.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

San Jose Mercury News / By Fan, Maureen Today, because of the ravages of three recent wars, women account for almost 60 percent of Iraq's population. And, having already tasted some freedom under a secular government in the 1970s, they are increasingly vocal about prying loose the vise-like grip men have held on Iraqi society for generations. But Iraqi men may find themselves in an awkward spot if the United States succeeds in grafting majority-rule democracy onto a society with a long legacy of chauvinism and cultural divisions.

Women and Economy

Monday, December 17, 2001

NPR “Morning Edition” / By Kathleen Schalch / Listen Economists have long argued that countries with fundamentalist regimes suffer economically because women are not allowed to participate. Afkhami recalls that when she was a high-ranking government official in Iran, she was legally restricted from traveling without her husband’s permission.

NGOs Sidelined From Tehran Talks, Rights Group Claims

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

U.N. Wire / By Angela Stephens NGO involvement in the preparatory meeting in Tehran for the World Conference against Racism was “severely limited by the Asian governments, to the great frustration and disappointment of the many NGOs who traveled great distances and overcame many bureaucratic and other hassles to get here,” Smita Narula, Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher for South Asia said.

Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women’s Human Rights in Muslim Societies

Monday, January 1, 2001

In Women, Gender, and Human Rights: A Global Perspective / Marjorie Agosín (ed.) In modern times, women have moved from the margins to the center of history playing increasingly important roles in families, communities, and states across the world. As women became increasingly aware and assertive, their demands for equality, participation, and access elicited reactions that range from curtailing their right to the privacy of their bodies and minds to policies that deny them experiences that are essential to their ability to compete in society. The infringement of women's rights is usually exercised in the name of tradition, religion, social cohesion, morality, or some complex of transcendent values. Always, it is justified in the name of culture.

At the Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity: Personal Reflection

Friday, November 3, 2000

In SAIS Review / The Johns Hopkins University Press Women in Muslim societies are not helpless. They have powerful potential. Because the problems of tradition and modernity are posed more vividly for them, they are at the forefront of the struggle to reconcile the universality of human rights with the specificity of religious and cultural contexts. They are the future of Muslim societies, if the future is to accord with democracy and civility. Because of the growing disparity between North and South in access to information, the most pivotal need at the moment is to provide women of the South with the necessary tools to participate in the global dialogue that increasingly affects decisions about economic transfers, grassroots developments, gender parity, and individual rights, among others.

If Peru Is to Vote in April, Lawmakers Have Job to Do

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

The Washington Post / By Nora Boustany Xiao Qiang, the New York-based executive director of Human Rights in China, said he has two dreams: to see a Chinese soccer team play against Brazil, and to live as a free man in his homeland. "Until today, I still feel the first dream is harder to reach than democracy in China," he told a small group gathered for lunch at the National Endowment for Democracy last Friday.

Cultural Relativism and Women’s Human Rights

Saturday, January 1, 2000

In Women and International Human Rights Law / Kelly D. Askin and Dorean M. Koenig (eds.) It is naive to suppose that rights that are universally identified and defined, regardless of their intrinsic value, may be implemenated in defiance of values, rules, and customs that are locally prescribed in the name of culture. This problem, however, is a matter of practical exigency. The central problem of cultural relativism is that it must deny rights to women (or men) who have become aware that they posess rights because they possess an identity that is theirs independently of the community to which they belong.

Cultural Relativism

Saturday, January 1, 2000

“The central problem of cultural relativism is that it must deny rights to women (or men) who have become aware that they posess rights because they possess an identity that is theirs independently of the community to which they belong.” – Cultural Relativism And Women’s Human Rights

A Vision of Gender in Culture

Saturday, November 6, 1999

By Mahnaz Afkhami In Culture in Sustainable Development: Investing in Culture and Natural Endowments / Ismail Serageldin and Joan Martin-Brown (eds.) Some of us who have worked in the field of women’s rights know how difficult it is to get the idea across that the whole concept of development and progress hinges on culture change and that culture change involves a change in the relation of women to each other and to other members of society.

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

Quotables – Human Rights

"We must pose the question: why is it that the denial of the most rudimentary rights to civil treatment for women is always based on some fundamental point of culture? Is this culture real, or is it a fetish that is used to maintain some economic, social, or simply psychological privilege?" - A Vision of Gender in Culture

"Women's status in society has become the standard by which humanity's progress toward civility and peace can be measured." - Architects for Peace

"The crass infringement of women's rights we see in the Muslim world has more to do with power, patriarchy, and misuse of religion as political weapon than with religion properly understood as individual faith." - Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women's Human Rights

"Rights and empowerment are interconnected: unless a substantial number of women in a community come to believe that they have rights and demand to exercise them, right remains an abstraction." - Faith and Freedom