In Western perception, Iranian woman are oppressed, regressive and uneducated, but Fatima Daneshvar is an antithesis to this – a businesswoman, a city councillor and a social activist.
At 43 years old, the mother of four has seven major businesses in what is a male-dominated industry. She also serves on Tehran’s city council and the Iranian chamber of commerce and has written reports on Iranian social problems like addiction and child labour.
Part of her dedicated work in giving back to her community is a programme she runs for Iran’s street kids, where she aims to train and support orphans to give them a better chance to succeed.
Her first business was in the mining industry, and her negotiation she made her first business deal a $2 million deal.
When she was first pregnant with twins, she decided to get involved in the business chamber of Iran, and in the chamber election received the second highest vote. At that time there was no female member of the mining industry at the chamber.
She faced immense backlash, with senior members making fun of her, teasing her, and male members of the chamber demanding that she resign, as they could not accept a woman presiding over them.
“There is a huge misconception about women in Iran from a Western perspective,” she says. “When I’ve travelled to different countries, I’ve realised that Iranian women are extremely highly educated and enjoy many more freedoms that in some of these other countries. But these misconceptions persist.”
“I’m indebted to my spiritual intelligence. Because of the way my family raised me, I fear nothing but God. That’s why I always take risks and do things that many people do not do.”
This article was adapted from an article on AlJazeera.