2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer and activist, is one of only 33 women to win the Nobel Prize (out of 758). In recognizing Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the prize, the Nobel committee in 2003 cited her efforts for democracy and human rights, focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.
In 1969, Ebadi became the first female judge in Iran. In 1975, she was named president of Bench 24 of the Tehran City Court. With the Islamic Revolution of 1979, female judges were removed from their positions, and Ebadi was made a clerk in the court where she had presided. She resigned and set about trying to obtain a private law license. The bar turned down her application, leaving Ebadi virtually jobless for many years. She used the time to write several books and articles and founded the Association for Children’s Rights in Iran.
Ebadi obtained her private law license in 1992 and began to take many high profile cases, particularly those related to freedom of speech and political freedom. She has a special passion for cases in which children are involved. Ebadi, who also teaches and holds human rights training courses, argues that social change is best brought about through non-violent democratic means, and that Islamic law can be interpreted to support democracy and human rights.
Updated on 9/7/2006