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Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender

Crisis Group Role

Azadeh Moaveni is Crisis Group’s Gender Project Director.

Areas of Expertise

  • Women and Islamist insurgencies (ISIS)
  • Islamic feminism and civil society
  • Gender and transitional justice
  • Middle East and North Africa

Professional Background

Prior to joining the organisation, Azadeh worked in academia as Senior Lecturer in journalism at New York University in London and Kingston University, with a focus on conflict reporting. Azadeh worked across the MENA region for over a decade as a correspondent for Time magazine and other publications, and travelled to Afghanistan measuring progress of UNDP programs intended to enhance women’s security and political participation. She is a fellow at New America and writes regularly for a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and The New Yorker.com.

Azadeh has written two books about Iran that focus on women and youth culture, and co-authored the memoir of Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate. Her book on women and ISIS will be published in autumn of 2019. She holds a degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was a Fulbright scholar in Egypt.

Selected Publications

  • “Lipstick Jihad”, Public Affairs, 2005
  • “Iran Awakening”, with Shirin Ebadi, Random House, 2006
  • “Honeymoon in Tehran”, Random House, 2010


  • English (Native)
  • Persian (Native)
  • Arabic (Conversant)

In The News

6 Jan 2020
The outpouring of grief for Qassim Suleimani is the country’s first act of retaliation. New York Times

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender
6 Mar 2019
Our work is informed by research that explores gender and conflict as ideas, political challenges and lived realities. Twitter

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender
26 Feb 2019
The role of women in Isis is one of the most significant questions of the post-Arab spring period. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender
15 Feb 2019
Too much of the public discussion around repatriating Western citizens, male or female, hinges on an assumption that letting them come home is equivalent to leniency or forgiveness. Bloomberg

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender
14 Jan 2019
While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join [Boko Haram] in the first place. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender
7 Nov 2018
[Under sanctions] women, as organisers of family life, healthcare, education, will often carry the burden of trying to come up with alternatives for their families in all instances. Al Jazeera

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender

Latest Updates

U.S. “Maximum Pressure” on Iran Hurts the Women It Claims to Help

To help justify its coercive measures against the Islamic Republic, Washington often evokes Iranian women’s struggles for inclusion and equality. But evidence from today’s Iran shows that U.S. policies are instead contributing to holding women back.

‘Jihadi bride’ doesn’t fit: we need a new language for female militants

Tabloid sensationalism about Shamima Begum flattens important debates about how much agency these women have.

Originally published in The Guardian

The West Should Let Islamic State Recruits Come Back Home

It’s easy to see why Britons are hostile to a teenage girl who went to Syria. But barring the door would feed the next round of jihadist recruiting.

Originally published in Bloomberg

Op-Ed / Africa

What Would Make A Woman Go Back To Boko Haram? Despair

In northeastern Nigeria, the militant group exploits a broken social system. There are lessons here for the rest of the world.

Originally published in The Guardian