Inside Iran: Women's Lives
TV crews and foreign correspondents come and go, but former BBC correspondent Jane Howard made her home in Iran for five years, raising her two young children there. Her experience took her beyond the headlines and horror stories and into the lives of everyday Iranian women. Her brilliantly observed report, "Inside Iran: Women's Lives, takes the reader from dinner in a presidential palace to tea in a nomad's tent. From women working in rice paddies and tea plantations to highly educated women in Tehran who have been banned from working in their professions. The image of Iranian women is still one of anonymous ranks of revolutionary marchers, clad in black. But underneath their black chadors or drab raincoats, they not only wear jeans, T-shirts and Lycra leggings, but they also work outside the home, drive, play sports and even become politicians. While many women haven't regained the Western-style freedom they lost in the revolution of 1979, others have won rights they never had before. Practically every girl has access to primary education now, and even remote villages have clean drinking water, a paved road and a school. Yet Islamic law continues to impose many inequities and constraints. In cash terms, for example, a woman's life is worth half that of a man's, and in the courtroom, two women have to give evidence to equal one man's testimony. Howard describes how the atmosphere changed with the election of the reformist president Khatami, and Iranians dared to demand more freedom and discuss their problems openly. She has interviewed government officials and opinion formers, and has traveled throughout the country to meet with women from all sectors of society. The result is afascinating story of struggle and change, vividly documenting what it means to be a woman in Iran.
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Former BBC correspondent Howard, who covered the fall of communism in Bulgaria and the war in Croatia and Bosnia, here recounts her experiences living in Iran from 1996 to 2000 as the wife of a UN ... Read full review
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