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Remembering Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani, the accomplished Iranian mathematician, died on Saturday 15th July at the age of 40, due to breast cancer. She maryam-Mirzakhanileaves a daughter and a husband. She studied in Tehran’s Sharif University and went to Harvard for her PhD, which she completed in 2004. Tributes have been paid to her nationally and internationally, by academics who knew her professionally, praising her for her remarkable intellect and contribution to mathematics.
Her significance, as a woman from Iran, is ever more remarkable given the disdain that the ruling regime shows women and the impediments it engineers in their development, socially, economically, and politically; and the way it has hampers the development of so many girls and young women in science and education. The achievements of Maryam Mirzakhani find even greater importance in this context. She was a positive role model for so many young girls, whose interests and talents in all fields of education are neglected by a patriarchal and misogynistic system of government, and its laws and artificially imposed social norms.

Despite the tributes in official press, what reveals the extent of the regime’s discomfort at having to report a woman’s achievements, is the way many official papers contrived to Photoshop ‘hejab’ onto portrait pictures of Mirzakhani, when reporting her Fields Prize, the equivalent of Noble Prize in mathematics, in 2014. However, on Sunday, papers such as Hamshahri managed to break with the official norm, unusually, and printed her image, without the ‘hejab’.
The untimely death of this remarkable mathematician has brought another uncomfortable truth to the fore. The second class status that the Islamic Republican regime has bestowed on women has meant that the children of an Iranian woman who marries a foreign national do not earn her nationality. They require Visas in order to visit Iran, like foreign nationals. It is reported that a number of members of Parliament are pressing for a change in this law so that Mirzakhani’s daughter can travel to Iran without a Visa.
MaZanan 27.07.2017

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