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

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Rutgers University Press

(An earlier version of this article, titled “Gender Apartheid and the Discourse of Relativity of Rights in Muslim Societies” appeared in Courtney W. Howland, ed., Religious Fundamentalisms and the Human Rights of Women (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999)).  I. Introduction In modern times, women have moved from the margins to the center of history …

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Leadership and Learning Societies

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami with Ann Eisenberg and Haleh Vaziri, Women Learning Partnership

Most of us live in societies that are hierarchically organized and command-oriented. The locus of command may be home, community, the political arena, or the economy. The structure of command nurtures and is nurtured by a culture of obedience that at once sustains and camouflages a pecking order by producing a system of authority. The …

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Harnessing Technology to Advance Women’s Human Rights

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, The Global Fund for Women

The 21st century is ushering in rapid and unprecedented technology that offers women a range of new opportunities to shape the world in which we live. But these opportunities will enhance our lives only if we are prepared to take advantage of them. We are now in the midst of a communications revolution that is …

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At the Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity: Personal Reflection

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, The Johns Hopkins University Press

I have spent most of my adult life defending and promoting women’s human rights. I came to this field through English literature, largely innocent of theories of feminism. By the time I encountered these theories formally in the 1970s as secretary general of the Women’s Organization of Iran (WOI), I had already experienced their essence …

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A Vision of Gender in Culture

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, World Bank

My task is to talk about a vision of gender in culture to an assembly that wishes to integrate culture in its policies to achieve sustainable development. The reason why the World Bank is interested in this proposition, I assume, is two-pronged: On one hand, you cannot have long-term sustainable development if half the population …

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Towards Global Feminism: A Muslim Perspective

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Spinifex Press

Waging their struggle in the colonial environment, Third World feminist thinkers have achieved a multicultural ethical and intellectual formation and a plethora of experience relevant to the development of an internationally valid and effective discourse addressing women’s condition on a global scale. The question is whether this foundation can become a springboard for a global …

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Resisting Fundamentalisms

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Canadian Human Rights Foundation

Fundamentalism is a militant reaction to modernism; that is, to changes that have come about as a result of the development of science and technology, secular­ization of social relations, and movement from collective to indi­vidual forms of identity and moral valuation. Fundamentalists are found in all societies and reli­gions. Their approach to religion is basically …

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Rethinking Women’s Human Rights in the Middle East

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company

I am privileged to speak here today, not only because it is an honor to be on the same forum with such distinguished colleagues, but also because of the issue that is the subject of the discus­sion. This, as I understand, is the first time that women’s human rights have been the subject of plenary …

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