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Shahla Sherkat
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    (March 30, 1956- )
    Born in Isfahan, Iran
    Founder and publisher of the magazines ‘Zanan’ (‘Women,’ 1992-2008) and ‘Zanan-e Emruz’ (‘Today’s Women,’ 2014-15)
    Considered one of the leading feminists in Iran
    Despite her feminism, she wore – and had her female staffers wear – a chador.
    She practiced self-censorship: ‘We are obligated to monitor ourselves and as such, we decide not to publish some articles or change the content of others.’
    She compared the closure of her magazine to losing one of her children.
    She was forced off the staff of the state-run ‘Zan-e Rouz’ (‘Today’s Woman’) for protesting its coverage of women’s issues.
    She founded the first independent journal focusing on women’s issues in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
    She covered issues usually considered taboo in Iranian society, including divorce laws, HIV/AIDS, prostitution, domestic abuse, and gender discrimination.
    The offices of ‘Zanan’ were attacked by gangs and the police refused to intervene.
    She has been dragged to court by the government several times when the government felt her magazines pushed boundaries too far.
    She sold her home and car to cover publishing costs.
    She received the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation (2005).
    She said, ‘If I am not optimistic about Iran’s government then I am optimistic about it its people.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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