Mehta, Sunita (Sunita B. Mehta)

views updated

Mehta, Sunita (Sunita B. Mehta)


Partner of Stephan; children: Guatama, Akash (sons). Education: Douglass College, Rutgers University, B.A.; SNDT Women's University, Mumbai, India, M.A.


Office—The Sister Fund, 116 E. 16th St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected].


Writer, editor, educator, nonprofit executive, and activist. The Sister Fund, New York, NY, director of grants, 1998-2005; Omega, faculty member, 2003—; Funders Concerned about AIDS, executive director, 2005—; Women for Afghan Women, cofounder; Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship, Columbia University, associate director; member of board, Women in Media and News; former member of board of SAKHI (a South Asian Women's Center for Anti-Violence Education) and the Third Wave Foundation.


(Editor) Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.


Sunita Mehta is a writer, editor, educator, and activist whose work focuses on women's rights and health in areas throughout the world. Mehta is particularly focused on the plight of women in Afghanistan, and is the founder of the human rights organization Women for Afghan Women, which seeks to improve the conditions of women in Afghanistan, a country long known for misogynistic, often violent treatment of females, especially under the oppressive Taliban regime.

Mehta is the editor of Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future, which collects a series of essays by women who have been active in human rights causes and who have experiences related to Afghanistan. Both Afghan writers, including Sima Wali, Weeda Mansour, and Saira Shah, and American essayists, including Gloria Steinem and Angela King, are represented. Other contributors include Qur'anic scholars, journalists, feminist theologians, and U.S. citizens with ties to Afghanistan. Many of the essays originated in papers presented at a conference inaugurating the organization Women for Afghan Women, conducted in November, 2001.

Among the contributors, Sanaa Nadim presents an overview of women and equality within Islam, and American writer Arline Lederman gives a thirty-five-year perspective on the role of women in Afghanistan. Weeda Mansour describes the struggle of the women's rights group Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) against Soviet occupiers and the mujahidin factions that became the ruling Taliban. She also cautions against considering the Northern Alliance, which toppled the Taliban, as Afghanistan's liberators, as they also have a long record of human rights violations. Fahima Vorgetts describes her life of activism on behalf of women in Afghanistan. Other authors consider women's roles in Afghan reconstruction, reestablishment of public health policies and facilities, the difficulties faced by Afghan women seeking asylum in the United States, and the twisted interpretations of the Muslim religion that reverse women's once-respected roles within the faith.

"This book is a first-rate compilation of brief but discerning articles on women's status in Afghanistan," stated Carol Riphenburg in the Middle East Women's Studies Review. "This particularly well-written, readable work provides timely insights and information" on Afghanistan and Islam, commented Library Journal reviewer Deborah Bigelow. "The events of September 11, 2001 provided an auspicious time to highlight the status of Afghan women and provide information to a public hungry for it," Riphenburg noted, concluding: "In this, the book provides a tremendous service."



Choice, May 1, 2003, review of Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future, p. 1602; September 1, 2003, review of Women for Afghan Women, p. 90.

Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 12, 2006, "Funders Concerned about AIDS," p. 45.

Library Journal, October 15, 2002, Deborah Bigelow, review of Women for Afghan Women, p. 87.

Middle East Women's Studies Review, spring-summer, 2003, Carol Riphenburg, review of Women for Afghan Women, p. 15.

New Statesman, October 6, 2003, Salil Tripathi, "Women's Rights after the Taliban," review of Women for Afghan Women.

off our backs, March-April, 2003, Carol Anne Douglas, review of Women for Afghan Women, p. 33.

Washington Post Book World, October 13, 2002, Etelka Lehoczky, review of Women for Afghan Women, p. 7.

Women's Review of Books, April, 2003, Amy Zalman, review of Women for Afghan Women.


Awakened Woman, (November 19, 2002), Diane Schultz, "A Call for Understanding and Action."

Funders Concerned about Aids Web site, (May 2, 2007), biography of Sunita Mehta., (May 2, 2007), biography of Sunita B. Mehta.

Sawnet, (May 2, 2007), Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, review of Women for Afghan Women.

Women for Afghan Women Web site, (September 29, 2004).

Women in Media and News, (May 2, 2007), biography of Sunita B. Mehta.