Dec 10, 2020
In Episode 1 of Series 6, Todd is talking with Dr. Nina Ansary an award-winning Iranian-American author, historian, and women's rights advocate. Nina is the UN Women Global Champion for Innovation and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace & Security, and author of Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality. They discuss the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on women’s rights and on the citizens of Iran.
00.00 - 05.06
Todd begins by asking Nina for her reflections on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on Iran. She comments that:
05.06 – 06.55
Todd moves on to ask Nina for her take on the existing nuclear power deal and US sanctions.
She argues that while the sanctions are not the cause of Iran’s economic difficulties they have accelerated the impact of economic mismanagement and corruption, which has fallen on the people and not the regime or its leaders.
06.55 – 11.05
The discussion moves onto the impact of Covid 19 on women’s rights. Prior to the pandemic, Nina says:
The effect of the pandemic has been to exacerbate inequalities, expose vulnerabilities, encourage discriminatory practices, and set back the advancement of women’s rights, in particular those who are most vulnerable and those who are marginalised. Nina notes that women have been losing employment at a disproportionate rate as a result of Covid 19. She concludes by referencing the Beijing World Conference on Women 1995 and the lack of progress made since then.
11.05 – 15.05
When asked about the impact of the pandemic on women in the USA Nina refers to existing reforms which have been too narrow and the need to “move beyond the reforms of the past” to create a more equitable future. Todd then asks whether Nina foresees a move to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment in the USA (ERA).
In reply she points out that women in the USA are not united around this topic and that even within the ERA movement there was/is a tendency to fragment into different groups which is a limiting factor and an obstacle to reform.
15.05 – 19.40
Todd moves on to discuss Nina’s work at the U.N. Appointed as a Global champion for innovation in 2019. Her focus is to drive transformational change by,
19.40 – 21.25
Todd wonders whether it is time for a feminising of the curriculum in line with the decolonising the curriculum movement. Nina refers to gender mainstreaming as a major tool in moving away from entrenches stereotypes and unequal trajectories of development.
21.25 – end
Todd brings the discussion full circle by asking for Nina’s thoughts on the current situation in Iran and to comment on the motivations of the state in its crackdown on women activists. Nina describes a regime that feels threatened by powerful women and enacts discriminatory policies in law as a means of enacting coercive control over women.
Impact of COVID on Iran