Ziba Mir-Hosseini is an Iranian-born legal anthropologist, specialising in Islamic law, gender and development. She
received her PhD in anthropology from Cambridge University and is the author of several books on Islam, gender, and the
A central voice in discussions around gender relations in Islam today and a valued Maslaha advisor. one of the founding members of the global network Musawah, which strives for equality and justice in the Muslim family.
One of the main contributions of feminist voices and scholarship in Islam is to unmask the power politics that are defended in the guise of religious values and Shari‘a; in doing so they are creating a public voice that can break down ideological polarisations such as those between ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ feminism, and between ‘Islam’ and ‘human rights’, and point us to the main battleground, which is that between patriarchy and despotism on the one hand, and gender equality and democracy on the other.
Importantly Mir-Hosseini has argued that ‘Islam’ and ‘feminism’ should be seen as contested concepts and that to essentialise otherwise effectively operates to deny the reality of women’s lives. This increasingly accepted realisation has opened the door for new conversations, which for the first time make the lived realities of women their focus.