Monday, January 29, 2007
This is Fatemeh Tarighat Monfared. She's the owner of Hani Restaurant in Central Tehran. It's a well-run restaurant with terrific food. Check it out if you can.
Monfared has owned Hani for more than twenty years. As a woman business owner, she's part of a small minority. She says her family opposed her entering business. Her father refused to speak to her for several years and her husband divorced her.
Much is made of the legal inequities affecting women in Iran, but if the laws were all changed tomorrow, there would still be deeply ingrained cultural norms regarding the role of women. Women are working to change these norms. They see this not as an abrogation of Islamic ideas, but as a reinterpretation of what has up to now been a solely patriarchal reading of these principles.