This volume seeks to move away from the oppositional positions taken by Western and Muslim women. It aims to provide a clear understanding of the possibilities and limits that the process of reconstruction and reinterpretation of Islamic dictum can and does present for progress of women in Islamist countries. The author contends that women the world over seek similar goals and face similar problems, but specific circumstances and specific constraints dictate differing priorities and differing approaches in different contexts. If feminism is to return to a universalist position then it must gain an understanding of these differences. This volume seeks to provide a step in the right direction by looking at the decades of struggles by Islamist women in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the increasing rapprochement between secularist and Islamist women in that country in pursuit of common goals.
HALEH AFSHAR was born and raised in Iran where she worked as a journalist and a civil servant. She teaches politics and women's studies at the University of York. She has chaired the British Association for Middle Eastern Studies and is currently convening the women's groups of the Development and the Political Studies Associations. Despite living in exile she has remained active in Iranian feminist politics.