Golshifteh Farahani is an Iranian actress renowned for her achievements on the international stage. She is one of the few Iranian actresses to have worked in Hollywood films and many of her films have received international recognition. Farahani has also been advocating for the eradication of tuberculosis in her home country and often gets involved in environmental causes as well.
Farah Pahlavi was the Shahbanu of Iran from 1961 to 1979, as the wife of Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Though she was not allowed to hold a political role, she worked for many charities and helped found Iran's first American-style university. She has continued her involvement in charity work even after her husband’s death in 1980.
Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician best remembered for her innovative methods and research involving different branches of mathematics like symplectic geometry and ergodic theory. On 13 August 2014, she became the first Iranian and only woman to date to be honored with the prestigious Fields Medal. Maryam Mirzakhani died of breast cancer when she was 40 years old.
Roxana was a Bactrian or a Sogdian princess who married Alexander the Great after the latter defeated Darius and invaded Persia. Roxana played a significant role in the life of Alexander. Hence, she is often included in the tales and stories that narrate Alexander's greatness and valor. In the 2004 epic historical film Alexander, Roxana is portrayed by Rosario Dawson.
Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novelist, illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author, and film director. Satrapi achieved international recognition in the early-2000s after releasing her critically acclaimed graphic novels. She is best known for writing and directing an animated biographical drama film titled Persepolis, which received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes.
A legendary figure, Tomyris was the fabled queen of the Massagetai, an Iranian tribal population. She is perhaps best remembered for her campaign against Cyrus II the Great of Persia, whom she attacked and killed, thus defending her forces. She has been the subject of many literary and artistic creations.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi is known for her significant work with refugees, women, and children, and her countless books, such as Iran Awakening. In spite of being Iran’s first female judge, she found it difficult to establish herself in the male-dominated profession.
Cassandra Clare is an American writer best known for authoring a series of six young adult fantasy novels titled The Mortal Instruments. A highly acclaimed author, Cassandra Clare has won several awards including a couple of Georgia Peach Book Awards.
Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her depiction of the dynamics that women share with Islamic cultural elements. Known for her multi-media productions such as Logic of the Birds, the UCB alumna who has worked in New York for a decade uses photography and films to express herself.
Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh was a princess, women's rights activist, feminist, and memoirist. A multi-talented personality, Taj al-Saltaneh acquired the status of a legendary figure among women while she was still active. The first woman to take off the hijab in court, Zahra organized underground women's rights meetings and led a women's rights march against the monarchy under her father.
Sevdaliza is an Iranian-Dutch singer whose debut album ISON earned her the 3voor12 Award under the Best Album of the Year category. Although she is not very popular in the Netherlands, Sevdaliza performs all over the world. A former professional basketball player, Sevdaliza played for the Dutch national team before embarking on a career as a singer.
A Woman Grandmaster and an International Grandmaster, Iranian chess player Dorsa Derakhshani initially represented Iran internationally. She now plays for the US and is a student of St. Louis University. Initially home-schooled, she had also excelled in music and dance, especially ballet, in her childhood, before moving on to chess.
Maryam Rajavi is an Iranian woman best known as the leader of a political-militant organization called People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which is working towards overthrowing the Iranian government. In July 2021, Maryam Rajavi organized a protest and condemned Ebrahim Raisi, calling him the "henchman" of the butchery of 30,000 political prisoners.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer who has represented imprisoned activists following the Iranian presidential elections in June 2009 as well as convicts sentenced to death for offence committed when they were minors. In 2020, she was the subject of a documentary. In 2021, Nasrin Sotoudeh was named in Time magazine's Most Influential People in the World list.
Taekwondo player Kimia Alizadeh, the daughter of a table-cloth maker, became a star in her country, Iran, when she won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, she fled Iran due to oppression in 2020 and settled in Germany. She has since been competing for Germany internationally.
Maryam Namazie is a British-Iranian secularist, human rights activist, communist, commentator, and broadcaster. Namazie has had a huge impact on the lives of refugees around the world. In the USA, she co-founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees. Maryam Namazie is also an outspoken critic of cultural relativism and the oppression of women in some Muslim countries.
Azar Nafisi is an Iranian-American writer and professor. She was born in Iran and later moved to the US, where she received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. She returned to Iran to pursue an academic career, eventually going back to the US after some years. She is the author of several critically acclaimed books.
Former world number 15, Iranian-origin French tennis star Aravane Rezai was initially a ball girl. She made headlines when her difficult relationship with her father led to him being banned from following her in all WTA tournaments. She has won 2 Women's Islamic Games, representing Iran, though she later represented France.
Forough Farrokhzad was an Iranian poet and film director. Her strong feminist voice earned her much acclaim and also brought about much criticism. She was both a popular and controversial figure. Her works were banned for more than a decade after the Islamic Revolution. In more recent years, she has become Iran's most revered female poet.
Simin Daneshvar was an Iranian novelist, academic, translator, and fiction writer. In 1948, she became the first Iranian woman to have a collection of Persian short stories published. Simin Daneshvar also became the first Iranian woman to publish a novel when her work Savushun released in 1966; Savushun went on to become a bestseller.
Zahra Nemati is an Iranian Olympic and Paralympic archer best known for winning gold medals for Iran in major competitions like Paralympic Games and World Para-archery Championships. Nemati competed in taekwondo prior to a car accident that left her paralyzed. Zahra Nemati was the flag bearer for her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Sarasadat Khademalsharieh is an Iranian chess player who achieved the honorific titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master in 2013 and 2015 respectively. She has represented her country in important competitions like the Women's Chess Olympiads and the Women's World Chess Championship.