Author Jila Baniyaghoob Battles for Women’s Right and Equality in New Memoir

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‘Women of Evin: Ward 209’ is a deeply meaningful and highly engaging volume that follows the life of a journalist who fights for women’s plight in Iran

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In Women of Evin: Ward 209, Jila Baniyaghoob pulls the curtain on what transpires behind the closed walls of Evin, Iran’s notorious prison, as prisoners of conscience, women’s rights activists and journalists are put away and shut out from the rest of the world. Whether in the interrogation rooms or solitary cells of Evin, women and men, young and old have to come to grips with not only their own human condition and limitations of hunger, exhaustion, loneliness, fear and resilience, but also have to assess the type of justice and human rights standards that govern and dictate their immediate future and the future of their fellow countrymen. In this short memoire Baniyaghoob captures the resilience of incredible women whose commitment to the advancement of women’s rights in Iran strengthened their resolve to withstand inhumane conditions and maintain that asking for equality should not be deemed by any government as a revolutionary act or an attempt to overthrow a government.

Excerpt from Women of Evin: Ward 209:

I said, “You call a peaceful gathering radical? In your opinion, I’m a radical because I came out to cover a peaceful protest as a journalist?! Of course, even if I was not a journalist and I participated as an ordinary citizen, I still wouldn’t be a radical.”
“I’m not against women’s demands, but the country is in a very critical situation. Is it right to take to the streets, demonstrate, and threaten the country from within when the country is facing external threats?”
I replied, “My country, its security, and its territorial integrity are all important to me as well. But why do you think a peaceful demonstration, with purely civic demands, endangers the country’s security? These demands have been made for more than a hundred years, and they are not related to a particular political system. Does the fact that women are demanding legal equality endanger national security?! What’s your definition of security anyway?! I have the exact opposite point of view. You not letting women hold a peaceful rally will ultimately lead to disintegration of the society and even the state. Don’t you think the more you close down the society, the more you have led it towards disintegration?”

This book touches on some fundamental issues in the world, women’s rights and the right to challenge unequal conditions. It is a personal account of what prisoners of conscience face behind the walls of Evin at the hands of their interrogators. These stories and these human rights abuses must be documented and reported so that the world is aware of the human rights conditions in Iran.

Skillfully written, highly descriptive and equally compelling, Women of Evin: Ward 209 is a great eye-opener for readers to become aware of the plight of women in some countries. This volume is a strong and cogent masterpiece to create awareness that women are important in the society and their voices should be heard and understood.

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About the Author
Jila Baniyaghoob is a freelance reporter and editor-in-chief of the Web site Kanoon Zanan Irani (Iranian Women’s Center), to which contributors inside and outside Iran provide news about women’s issues. Baniyaghoob won the 2009 IWMF (International Women’s Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award for fearlessly reporting on government and social oppression, particularly as they affect women. In 2010, Baniyaghoob won the Freedom of Speech Award from Reporters Without Borders. Baniyaghoob’s other work includes, Journalists in Iran, a book that documents the experiences of Iranian journalists, especially women under duress. She is currently serving her one-year prison sentence in Iran’s Evin Prison, Ward 209.

Women of Evin: Ward 209* by Jila Baniyaghoob
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 112 pages; 978-1-4836-2384-9
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 112 pages; 978-1-4836-2385-6
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4836-2386-3

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