The position of women within Islam, and within each country of the Middle East, is as misunderstood as it is diverse. On Friday, Nov. 16, beginning at 6 p.m., an international panel of scholars and filmmakers will examine the legal rights of Iranian women in Iranian Women: The Legal Structure of Family and the Quest for Identity.
The event will be held at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan. The event is free, but seating is limited. Tickets will be issued at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. Call ( 312 ) 344-6708.
The program, sponsored by the college's Film & Video and Liberal Education departments, will begin with a screening of clips from the award-winning documentary film Divorce Iranian Style, directed by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Kim Longinotto. The film documents several weeks in an Iranian court, as the real-life protagonists navigate the country's laws and administrative system to obtain divorces.
Mir-Hosseini, the film's co-director and a professor of anthropology at the University of London, will be joined by Debra Zimmerman, director of Women Make Movies and Mehranghiz Kar, lawyer, activist and expert in Iranian and Islamic law, for an examination of the issues raised by the film. Filmmaker and Columbia College professor Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa will moderate the panel as they discuss the rights of women within the Islamic framework of Iranian law and the identity of women in marriage.
Kar has written 500 articles for various journals and newspapers ( 300 articles prior to and 200 articles since the Revolution ) . She has authored nine books dealing with the civil rights and concerns of women, as well as the legal barriers against democracy and political development under the Islamic government. S
"Mrs. Kar has sought to illuminate and uphold the rights of Iranian women and Mir-Hosseini has movingly documented their lives in the film she created with Kim Longinotto," said filmmaker Saeed-Vafa, herself a native of Iran. "We hope that this program will help to clarify the role and rights of women in Iran, for the women concerned and for American audiences as well."