Mahnaz Afkhami discusses the struggle for gender justice in Iran during her time as a government cabinet minister, and in more recent years. She discusses the difficult situation for women in present-day Iran and several examples of state-sanctioned violations of women's human rights. Later she talks about her pivotal involvement in the 1975 First World Conference on Women in Mexico City, the importance of the Iranian women's movement in preparing the draft World Plan of Action, and the creation of the National Plan of Action in Iran based on the World Plan a year later. The plan commissioned 12 ministries that were active in the fields of social, cultural, and economic development to keep track of the extent and quality of the increase in women’s participation in all development fields and report to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, who, on behalf of the Prime Minister, chaired the monthly meetings of the 12 ministries. This is the same concept that in the following decade was put forth as “mainstreaming” in the international arena. In terms of initiating, planning, and implementation, to this day, pre-revolutionary Iran remains the best example where mainstreaming came with a detailed strategy for action that enjoyed full support of both women’s and civil society groups and the government. The interview discusses some of the most influential women leaders through 100 years of activism (since the end of the 19th century). Afkhami notes, however, that the most important powerful force in the women's movement has been the mobilization of ordinary women at the grassroots level to push for change. A question and answer session follows with global callers on the topics of women, leadership, religion, and politics.
Afkhami was interviewed by Ahmadreza Baharloo on Voice of America, 2004.
Read more about this topic in Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani’s interview with Mahnaz Afkhami for The Feminist School on September 27, 2008 here: http://fis-iran.org/en/women/articles/reform-and-regression