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.
The first day of spring marks the beginning of a new year, or Norooz, in Iran...Here is a round-up of just a few fantastic female activists who have contributed significantly to the advancement of women’s rights and stature in the world. These ladies give the nation, the region, and, indeed, the entire world hope for meaningful and lasting change.
Mahnaz Afkhami and Mehrangiz Kar, lawyer and human rights activist, speak with BBC Persian about women’s political participation in Iran on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of being accorded their right to vote.
It is now almost 40 years that Mahnaz Afkhami has been fighting for women's rights and against all sorts of gender apartheid...Did all of the achievements (that she worked for) vanish overnight in 1979 when the mullahs took over? Afkhami believes that the movement never stopped and says, "The green movement in Iran is the continuation of what had been started nearly a century before..."
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.
Whether in exile in refugee camps, in prisons inside Iran, or working late into the night sending their messages around the country and across the world, women in Iran have not yielded to oppression. Their mobile phones, web sites and blogs carry their words across the nation and throughout the world. Their voice resonates with others who rise up in their support. They are at the forefront of the green movement for change. They know they can change their country and they say “Yes, we will.”
The Economist / By R.L.G.
Perhaps the most interesting point from the perspective of American policy is that Shirin Ebadi simply does not think this government can or will negotiate nuclear issues in good faith with America. Mahnaz Afkhami noted that anti-Americanism is one of the few claims on legitimacy the government has left. This is why neither of them thought the Americans should waste time talking about nukes when the government can never agree, and why America should instead focus on supporting the greens.
BBC Persian Hardtalk / By Enayat Fani Afkhami looks back on the complex issues of advancing women’s rights in Iran: from her time working as Minister for Women’s Affairs in pre revolutionary Iran, and using economic development goals as a way of advancing the status of women and promoting reform of family law. BBC Persian [...]
“Now, when I look back [on the work of the WOI], it seems to me that our main mistake was not that we did not do other things which we should have done. Our main mistake was that we created conditions in which the contradictions related to modernity, progress, equality, and human rights, especially women’s [...]
The Daily Beast / By Dana Goldstein
Mahnaz Afkhami says that in recent months, the Iranian government has encouraged civil-rights and pro-democracy leaders to emigrate, as an alterative to lengthy imprisonments or executions that could further inflame a restive public. “The idea is to make sure they leave the country. That’s how they become irrelevant actually, relative to the kind of role they can play when they’re inside. ”