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The Iranian Women's Movement: A Conversation with Mansoureh Shojaee

Event Recap

July 7, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Mansoureh Shojaee
Event Sponsor: 
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Photo of Mansoureh Shojaee

Mansoureh Shojaee has been one of the leaders of the Iranian women’s rights movement for over 20 years and involved in politics for more than 30 years. She was a librarian at the National Library in Tehran for 22 years and worked as a journalist, freelance writer and literary translator for French. She will discuss the women’s rights movement in Iran with Dr. Abbas Milani, director of Iranian Studies at Stanford. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A session with viewers. The event will be live-translated from Persian/Farsi to English.

From 1994 to 2004, she worked with blind children and enabled them to access literature by teaching them the use of audio books, as a part of the Children’s Book Council of Iran (for which she received the 2010 Testimonial Statue Honors Award). For her efforts, she received the 2010 Testimonial Statute Honors Award from the IBBYP.

In 2000, Ms. Shojaee co-founded (with the journalist, feminist and political activist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani and other like-minded women) the women’s cultural center Markaze Farhangi-ye Zanab, where she opened the Women’s Library Sadige Dolatabadi in 2003.

She also worked with other organizations including UNICEF to develop traveling libraries geared towards Iranian women and children. A close confidant of Shirin Ebadi (the Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate living in exile in London), she was committed to fulfilling Ebadi’s dream of an Iranian women’s museum, however the project was banned in its early stages. In 2008, she started The Iranian Women’s Movement Museum, a research project, with a group of women activists, artists, and academics. She is also the founder of the online platform the Iran Women’s Movement Documentation Center.

She is one of the creators of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality and co-founder of the website The Feminist School. Because of her dedicated efforts, she was imprisoned several times in Iran, most recently in 2009. After a month, she was released on bail and was free to leave Iran. Having already suffered a four-year travel ban, she promptly went into exile. She is the author of Sharzade’s Sisters: Women in Iran (2013). She continues to work as a women’s rights activist, writer and journalist while she remains in exile.

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