1st Edition

Islamic Feminisms Rights and Interpretations Across Generations in Iran

By Roja Fazaeli Copyright 2017
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the contentious topic of women’s rights in Muslim-majority countries, with a specific focus on Iran and the Iranian women’s movement from 1906 to the present. The work contextualizes the authorial self through the use of personal narrative and interviews. A new critique of Islamic law is produced through an in-depth study of the Iranian Constitution, civil and criminal codes. The work presents a novel reconceptualization of the term "Islamic feminism" by revisiting the arguments of various scholars and through analysis of interviews with Iranian women’s rights activists. It is contended that the feminist movements can play a critical role in Islamic law reform and consequently the eventual implementation of international human rights law in Muslim-majority countries. What emerges from this study is not only a feminist critique of two major regimes of law, but also the identification of possibilities for reform in the future. The study transitions from the Iranian national context to the international by way of a comparative legal study of international human rights laws and Islamic laws. The book will appeal both to academics and human rights practitioners.


    Introduction: Situating the Self


    Chapter 1. Iranian Women’s Movement: Narratives of Dissent


    The Iranian Women’s Movement: A Brief Historical Account 1872-2012

    Iranian Women’s Movement through: Offline and Online Media

    Pahlavi Period (1925-1979)

    1979- 2009: the Rise and the Fall of Women’s Print Media

    Chapter II. Contemporary Feminism in Iran: Definitions, Narratives and Identity


    The Struggle to Define "Islamic Feminism"

    Chapter III. Women’s Rights in Islam: An Iranian Case StudyIntroduction



    Chapter IV. Human Rights, Islam and the debate around CEDAW


    A Brief Background to CEDAW

    International Debate: CEDAW and Muslim-majority countries

    Iranian Debates on CEDAW

    Conclusion: A Personal Account



    Dr Roja Fazaeli is Lecturer in Islamic Civilizations, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She has published widely on the topics of Islam and gender, Islamic feminism and human rights.

    This book is an important contribution to the study of Iranian women’s struggle for legal equality since the early twentieth century. With a fascinating personal account of the aftermath of the 1979 revolution that brought clerics to power, Fazaeli chronicles the coming of age of an indigenous feminism that has challenged the official interpretation of ‘Shari‘a’. Ziba Mir-Hosseini, SOAS University of London

    A child of revolution and a martyr’s daughter, Fazaeli situates herself in the ongoing resilient political activism of Iranian women in their pursuit of legal and political equality, despite the relentless state obstruction and harassment.  She has written a highly engaging, intelligent and readable book.  I recommend this book enthusiastically. Shahla Haeri, Associate Professor, Boston University.

    At a time when the discourse on Islam and women's rights is increasingly characterized by polemics and one-dimensional debates that generate more heat than light, Roja Fazaeli's fascinating study offers a measured, nuanced, and lucid account of the complex interrelationship between the forces that shape the struggle for gender equality in Iran and the wider Islamic world. By focusing on the critical role that feminist movements can play in pushing for domestic legal reforms that will pave the path towards the full realization of human rights, Islamic Feminisms is a much needed reminder that the ultimate agents of change in that struggle are Muslim women themselves.---  Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran (2011-2016) & on Freedom of Religion or Belief (2016-).