Fariba Eskandarian is an Iranian Women’s Rights Activist. She researches and addresses the issues faced by women in Iran. Eskandarian has studied Islamic Law and that was the starting point of her research about women’s rights in Islam and Iran’s law which inspired her to write her first book “Persian Women.”
This week, we had the opportunity to interview Fariba Eskandarian as we spoke about her inspiration behind her motivation to advocate for women’s rights in Iran and we also spoke about her book “Persian Women,” and what she hopes to attain in her community through the power of words.
Fariba Eskandarian writes in her book “Iran. A nation mired in rumor and mystery for much of the Western world. What snippets of information work their way into the media and books might be considered appalling, especially when it comes to widespread discrimination and abuse.”
Interviewer: What inspired you to become involved in activism?
Fariba Eskandarian: I have lived in sexual inequality criticism. My mother was the boldest example of a victim of abuse and inequality in my life. I’ve also spent almost my whole life in Iran and trust me being a woman in Iran is a bitter experience. And because I don’t want women to experience the same life I’ve decided to take action, to break the silence, and to raise my voice.
Interviewer: Can you tell us more about the book you’ve published?
Fariba Eskandarian: The idea of Persian Women has started from the time that I was at law school.
This book is the most honest story of the life of women in Iran. “Persian women” is a raw uncensored overview of what has happened to Iranian women through history, what is happening to them now, and what are the reasons and roots of these abuses and inequalities in Iran and also in Islam. Because I believe acknowledging the truth is the first step to freedom.
Interviewer: What is the one thing you love about the work that you do?
Fariba Eskandarian: I love so many things about activism but honestly, the most beautiful thing that I love about it is when I see women in crisis realize their power and worth. When they stand out for themselves and refuse to continue living with wrong beliefs.
Interviewer: Have you ever faced any criticism, insults, or threats due to the work you do? If yes, then how do you cope with it?
Fariba Eskandarian: Oh, a lot. I’m an author of a forbidden book. I talk about things that are too harsh for most people to hear. And of course, it’s sometimes very difficult to cope with. I’ve left my country because It was not safe for me anymore. I’ve left my family behind. But besides all the threats and criticism I choose to continue because I know it’s the right thing and this is what I live for.
Interviewer: Are there any books or projects you’re currently working on that you’d like us to know?
Fariba Eskandarian: Right now I’m reading and researching about the position of women in different countries and cultures and who knows maybe that inspires me for a new book.
Interviewer: Do you believe we have enough women empowerment in the middle east at the moment? If not, then what can we do as a community to change that?
Fariba Eskandarian: Unfortunately, I don’t think we have enough women empowerment in the middle east at the moment, though I might mention that there have been great improvements in the past few years. As I’ve mentioned before, the first step is to acknowledge the truth. It’s necessary to educate ourselves and the women around us about our rights and provide practical and efficient support for those women who need it.
Interviewer: If you could change one thing in society, what would it be?
Fariba Eskandarian: I would change inequality. It might sound cliche but when we look back to history we can see that the root of every wild and dangerous tragedy was the “I’m better than you” mentality. And if we could change that mentality, we would have never witnessed racism, sexual inequality, etc.
Interviewer: Any advice you would like to give to the young girls of this generation?
Fariba Eskandarian: Just know that you’re enough. Not only enough, but you’re more than enough for you to be happy. Despite all those negativity and wrong ideas that the world has to offer. Own your unique and strong existence as a young woman and follow your dreams.