Breaking the Barriers to Gender Equality: Interview with Author Nina Ansary

By Nazenin Ansari

Did you know that the world’s first chemist was a woman?

Or that the first female astronomer and the first female mathematician were both from the Middle East?

These are some of the revelations contained in Nina Ansary’s new book, Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender, a look at women’s accomplishments over the last 4,000 years — and at why they have not received the recognition that they deserve.

Ansary’s previous book, Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran, was an overview of women’s rights in Iran and how the postrevolutionary years gave birth to a fierce feminist movement.

In an interview with Kayhan Life, Ansary said Anonymous Is a Woman grew out of her advocacy campaigns as a UN Women Global Champion for Innovation, “where I work to uncover obstacles to women achieving their full potential in the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] fields.”

“The other component of the book stems from my research as a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, which is really about the participation of women in conflict-affected situations around the world, and promoting justice and human rights globally,” she added.

In the Kayhan Life interview, Ansary also discussed hurdles to gender equality: legal loopholes and inadequate legislation that continue to hold women back, and the lack of targeted action in the workplace.

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