By Peter Elston
The popular narrative about women’s lives in Iran over the last forty years goes something like this:
“During the Pahlavi Monarchy, women were on an upward trajectory. In a nation on the cusp of modernity, women actively participated. They were given the right to vote and free to be in public without veils. They wore miniskirts on university campuses. Then came the Islamic Revolution in 1979. With Ayatollah Khomeini at the helm, the burgeoning freedoms for women were extinguished. The veil was required and institutions were segregated by gender. The Islamic Republic had thus achieved its goal of resurrecting the image of the quintessential Muslim woman.”
The problem with popular narratives is that, despite their convenient half-truths, the real story is more complicated, unexpected, and lesstidy.
Inspired by author Nina Ansary’s scholarly journey, Jewels of Allah is a provocative roller coaster ride that shatters the stereotypical assumptions and the often misunderstood story of women in Iran today. Highlighting many courageous female leaders and advocates throughout Iran’s history, the book illuminates the unanticipated consequences of the Islamic Revolution and the unexpected twists and turns leading to a full-blown feminist movement within a post-revolutionary patriarchal society.
Jewels of Allah is dedicated to every individual oppressed by discriminatory ideology. 100% of all proceeds for the book will go to charities and organizations that empower disadvantaged young women in Iran.
Nina Ansary was raised in New York and attended Dalton, Barnard College and Columbia University, where she got her Masters in Middle Eastern Studies.