This New Book Highlights Iran's Promising Feminist Movement

As an Islamic state that limits its citizen's freedom of speech and expression, it's difficult to uphold Iran as a global model for activism.

But despite these limitations, Iran is proving to be at the crux of the modern-day feminist movement. Scholar and Iranian in self-imposed exile, Nina Ansary spoke with to discuss her debut book, "Jewels of Alloh: The Untold Story of Women in Iran."

In her book, Ansary seeks to reveal the hidden story of Iran's feminist roots, ranging from the country's historic beginnings to the budding new-age movement. Ansary's hope was to debunk misleading news headlines and stories that skew the representation of Iran in the media. 

She sighted her own shortcomings and misunderstandings on the topic as a starting point for her work, explaining to Mic, "The narrative of Iran and the history of my country came mostly from Western media. When I delved into the movement of women's rights I realized how little I knew."

Click through the gallery above to learn about three Iranian women who have blazed their own paths and redefined feminism in Iran.  

NEXT:  Germaine Greer: "It's Very Important That Feminism Is Not Defined, That It's Allowed to Grow" »

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Photo Credit: Reza Estakhrian via Getty Images


Arezou Hakimimoghaddam | When 20-year-old athlete Hakimimoghaddam qualified to compete in the 2012 Olympics after training for six years in swimming, her opportunity was shut down by the Iranian government because she was not allowed to compete in a bathing suit, visible by the whole world. Determined to succeed, Hakimimoghaddam went on to train herself in kayaking and became skilled enough in the sport to qualify for the same Olympics in the "Canoe/Kayak Flatwater" category. She came in seventh place for the K-1200 race. Photo Credit: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images

Shahla Sherkat | Founder of women's magazine "Zanna" and winner of the International Women's Media Foundation's 2005 Courage in Journalism Award, Sherkat created the first independent publication that focuses on women's issues post the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The magazine ran under Sherkat's leadership for 16 years before former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shut it down. Committed to helping women share their voices, Sherkat attempted to publish new material for her women's publication, Zanana-e Emruz before the publication was suspended for its content on unmarried couples and cohabitation.  Photo Credit: Vince Bucci via Getty Images

Ghoncheh Ghavami | British-Iranian Ghavami made international news back in 2014 for attempting to attend a men's volleyball match in Tehran. The 26 year old was sentenced to an entire year in prison for her subsequent propaganda tactics targeted at the state. Ghavami served five months before being released from prison in November 2014 after posting $30,000 in bail. Because of the worldwide support Ghavami and her case received, the court of appeal pardoned her. To this day, the state has restricted her travels with a ban that prevents her from leaving the country. Photo Credit: LEON NEAL via Getty Images