Global and Iranian history are both closely intertwined with the lives and destinies of prominent figures. Every one of them has laid a brick on history’s wall, sometimes paying the price with their lives, men and women alike. Women have been especially influential in the past 200 years, writing much of contemporary Iranian history.

In Iran, women have increased public awareness about gender discrimination, raised the profile of and improved women’s rights, fought for literacy among women, and promoted the social status of women by counteracting religious pressures, participating in scientific projects, being involved in politics, influencing music, cinema… And so the list goes on.

This series aims to celebrate these renowned and respected Iranian women. They are women who represent the millions of women that influence their families and societies on a daily basis. Not all of the people profiled in the series are endorsed by IranWire, but their influence and impact cannot be overlooked. The articles are biographical stories that consider the lives of influential women in Iran.

IranWire readers are invited to send in suggestions for how we might expand the series. Contact IranWire via email ([email protected]), on Facebook, or by tweeting us.

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Fatemeh Daneshvar, born in 1974, founded the Mehrafrin Charity Organization in 2005 and is now CEO of Sepehr Asia Corporation, an iron ore mining and export company. She has a Bachelor’s degree in hospital management and a Master’s in business administration.

Before founding Sepehr Asia, Daneshvar worked in a variety of jobs, from employment at a car manufacturer to importing toys.  The toys she imported did not sell well, and between 2003 and 2004, she not only lost all her capital but went into debt as well.

According to Daneshvar, when she met her husband, they were both broke and had only 600 thousand tomans between them  (around $200 at today’s exchange rate). With this small capital they founded Sepehr Asia, now one of the major iron ore mining corporations in Iran. They also own seven holding companies in minerals and have licenses to extract iron ore from three mines. Once extracted, they send the ore to Iranian ports for export. One-fourth of the company’s profit goes to Mehrafrin Charity, which pays for the education and care of 4,500 children who have no support or are under-supported and vulnerable. The charity is active in many cities and provinces across Iran, including Tehran, Sistan and Baluchistan, Kerman, Hormozgan, South Khorasan and Tabriz.

Fatemeh Daneshvar has voiced interest in running for a seat in Iran’s forthcoming parliamentary elections, which take place in February 2016. Her key focus, she says, will be on the rights of  women and children. She says she had wanted to run in the last parliamentary elections, but that she decided not to after her husband expressed reservations.

Daneshvar is a member of Tehran’s City Council and of the editorial board of the magazine Panjereh Khalaghiat (Creativity Window), which is run by Iranian job creators, who share their experiences in business in the publication.

She is also the head of Chamber of Commerce’s Ethics Committee and a member of Tehran Chamber of Women’s board.

Some hardliner media have accused Fatemeh Daneshvar of being the richest member of Tehran’s City Council and of living a lavish life, charges that she has answered point by point, emphasizing her charity work and the non-political nature of her activities.

 

Read the original article in Persian

 

Also in the series:

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Jinous Nemat Mahmoudi

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Simin Behbahani

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Forough Farrokhzad

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Parvin Etesami

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Farokhru Parsa

50 Iranian Women you Should Know: Jamileh Sadeghi

 

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