Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Women's Rights

Cultural Particularism as a Bar to Women's Rights: Reflections on the Middle Eastern Experience

Ann Elizabeth Mayer
March 8, 2011
Book chapter


The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation was granted the copy right permission for translating several chapters of : Women's rights, human rights : international feminist perspectives, edited by Julie Peters and Andrea Wolper. Due to copy right constraint the present chapter is available only in Persian in our library. To access it, you may click on the فارسی button on the navigation bar.

About this book:

Under democracy and dictatorship, in times of war and times of peace, women's human rights are violated daily and often systematically. Women may be denied the right to vote or hold office. They may be subjected to rape and sexual abuse by soldiers, police, employers, family members. They may not be free to choose when or whom to marry, or how many children to have and when to have them. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Yet women's freedom, dignity and equality are persistently compromised by law and by custom in ways that men's are not. The mere extension of existing human rights protection to women is insufficient: women's rights must be understood as human rights.

Women's Rights, Human Rights promises to be the most comprehensive and important book available on the subject of women's human rights worldwide. It includes contributions by activists, journalists, lawyers and scholars from twenty-one countries. The essays map the directions the movement for women's human rights is taking--and will take in the coming decades-- and the concomitant transformation of prevailing notions of rights and issues. The volume addresses such topics as the rapes in former Yugoslavia and efforts to see that a War Crimes Tribunal responds; domestic violence; trafficking of women into the sex trade; the persecution of lesbians; female genital mutilation; and reproductive rights.

Women's Rights, Human Rights provides original and much-needed perspectives that will take the crucial issue of women's human rights through the nineties and beyond while articulating new agendas for dealing with them.

Contributors: Charlotte Bunch, Gloria Careaga Pe;rez, Hilary Charlesworth, Rebecca J. Cook, Rhonda Copelon, Julie Dorf, Siobhan Dowd, Marsha Freeman, Elisabeth Friedman, Pamela Goldberg, Lori Heise, Rhoda E. Howard, Indira Jaising, Natalie Hevener Kaufman, Jasmina Kuzmanovic, Liza Largoza-Maza, Stefanie A. Lindquist, Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Brigitte Mabandla, Julie Mertus, Akram Mirhosseini, Koki Muli, Ilka Tanya Payan, Hnin Hnin Pyne, Arati Rao, Huda A. Seif, Carmel Shalev, Elissavet Stamatopoulou, Maria Suarez Toro, Donna Sullivan, Dorothy Q. Thomas, Nahid Toubia, Sima Wali, Nadia H. Youssef, Zhu Hong