The Word on Women: MENA region tops agenda at AWID global women’s rights forum

“It takes a lot of hard work to change cultures of dictatorship to cultures of democracy. We need to develop strategies so we can work as quickly as possible…to try to avoid replacing one kind of dictatorship with another,” said Mahnaz Afkhami.

2500 Women Activists Travel to Istanbul for AWID Forum

More than 2,500 women from 140 countries traveled to İstanbul on Thursday for the start of the 12th Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Forum. Mahnaz Afkhami, a former women’s affairs minister of Iran, led a break-out session Thursday for women’s rights activists from the Middle East and North Africa to share their strides and challenges in advancing women’s rights in the midst of the democratic uprisings that have swept the region. But the hindrances Muslim women face are not so different than those of women across the globe, Afkhami told Today’s Zaman in an exclusive interview.

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.

Betty Friedan, Mahnaz Afkhami and Iran (In Persian)

گفتگو با مهناز افخمی بمناسبت درگذشت بتی فريدن، فعال حقوق زنان آمريک (VOA Persian)

On the passing of Betty Friedan, Mahnaz Afkhami looks back on Betty Friedan’s visit to Iran in 1974, and their subsequent work together in the United States.

Feminists vs. Fundamentalists

GlobalizingWomenTransnationalFeministNetworksWomen Living Under Muslim Law and Sisterhood Is Global Institute
In Globalizing Women : Transnational Feminist Networks/ Valentine M. Moghadam (ed.)

This chapter examines two Transnational Feminist Networks (TFNs)–Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI), as well as a newer TFN that operates in the Muslim world: the Women’s Learning Partnership for Peace, Development, and Rights (WLP). These TFNs call for the advancement, equality, and human rights of women in the Muslim world, and urge governments to implement the UN-sponsored Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, along with the Beijing Platform for Action. As advocates of democratization, civil society, and women’s rights, they are fierce opponents of fundamentalism, and have taken positions against those versions of cultural relativism and multiculturalism that undermine women’s equality and autonomy in the name of respect for cultural or religious traditions. They also have paid special attention to the violations of women’s human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Algeria, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Promoting Women’s Rights in the Muslim World

PromotingWomensRightsInTheMuslimWorldIn Journal of Democracy
To gain the strength necessary to meet the challenges they face, women around the world must come together in a spirit of global cooperation. Through its conferences and workshops, its human rights education project, its urgent action alert system, and its outreach program and publications, SIGI is working to create an atmosphere of understanding and solidarity among women that transcends divisions based on race, nationality, class, religion, and political orientation.

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