“Women will open the gates to democracy …"
Fueled by a lifelong passion for political freedom, women’s equality, human rights, and justice, Shirin Ebadi works tirelessly to support and drive positive change in her home country of Iran from a place of exile, and to bring global attention to the democratic aspirations of the people.
In the months since “Women, Life, Freedom” became the revolutionary cry of Iranians in and outside of Iran in response to the murder of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022, Dr. Ebadi has been a leading voice in the diaspora in support of the protesters – amplifying the call for a secular democracy while collaborating with other leaders to raise awareness and understanding internationally of the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead.
In addition to directing the attention of the international media to the revolution, Dr. Ebadi addressed the UN Security Council in early November 2022 urging the international community to “stand on the right side of history” by putting pressure on Iran.
2022 also saw the release of the award-winning documentary feature film, Until We Are Free, about Dr. Ebadi’s work as a human rights lawyer defending women and children against a brutal regime. This remarkable story unfolds in the context of Iran’s rich social and cultural history. It is an extraordinary and moving account of her deep personal sacrifice and unflagging commitment to freedom and justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable authoritarianism.
The film is available for viewing on several streaming services. To view on online, click here
Watch the trailer here:
Shirin Ebadi, J.D., was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field.
Dr. Ebadi was the first woman to become a presiding Judge in Iran. She served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979. She, along with other women judges, was dismissed from that position after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. She was made a clerk in the court she had once presided over, until she petitioned for early retirement. After obtaining her lawyer’s license in 1992, Dr. Ebadi set up private practice. As a lawyer, Dr. Ebadi has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times.
"Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization."
In addition to being an internationally-recognized advocate of human rights, she has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including the Million Signatures Campaign, a campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. Dr. Ebadi is also a university professor and often students from outside Iran take part in her human rights training courses. She has published over 70 articles and 13 books dedicated to various aspects of human rights, some of which have been published by UNICEF. In 2004, she was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
In January 2006, along with sister Laureate Jody Williams, Dr. Ebadi took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative.