Iranian Activists and Scholars

Iranian Activists and Scholars


WLP has worked with dozens of Iranian activists over the past decade, on women’s rights campaigns in Iran and elsewhere in the Muslim world, focusing on family law reform and the implementation of international human rights norms. 

Click Here to Access Resources for Iranian Activists

Partner Focus Areas

Family law reform
Networking and coalition building
Oral histories and archival event recordings
Training and capacity building for women leaders

Partnership Highlights

Iranian Women's One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality
Leadership curriculum and training in Persian
Public events featuring women leaders of the Iranian diaspora
Online training on social media for activists
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Parvin Ardalan 2020 Vision Conference
Parvin Ardalan discusses the Iranian women's movement at WLP's 2020 Vision Conference in New York City in 2010.

In Iran

WLP works with Iranian scholars, journalists, lawyers, and professors, and others who are organizing, agitating, and advocating for women’s rights. 

We have collaborated with our Iranian partners on translating and testing our education materials in Persian, facilitating leadership and human rights workshops, and  participation in WLP’s online courses. WLP provides logistical support, opportunities for meeting with other activists, funding, and materials and training to individual Iranians and to Iranian feminist networks.

WLP also acts as a conduit for information between Iranian activists and international women’s rights organizations such as the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), One World, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and the World Movement for Democracy, and with women’s organizations in the global south. Iranian feminists’ collaboration with WLP  has brought greater international attention to their work, and has allowed them to network with hundreds of women’s rights and democracy activists on their mobilization efforts. 

Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi speaks about the One Million Signatures Campaign for gender equality in Iran at WLP's 2020 Vision Conference in New York City in 2010.

Programs and Accomplishments

  • Our Iranian partners have conducted dozens of WLP training workshops in Iran, and have taken part in a number of Training of Trainers workshops held in locations outside of the country .
  • Through the sponsorship of WLP, our Iranian partners have participated in many international symposia—including the WLP Transnational Partner Convening, 2013 Women Deliver Conference, World Movement for Democracy (WMD), and the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). 
  • Our Iranian partners have conducted online trainings on how to use social media for advocacy and on digital security for Iranian activists. 
  • Our Iranian partners have been in the vanguard of the One Million Signatures Campaign, an Iran-based public education and advocacy campaign to collect signatures in support of repealing Iran’s laws that discriminate against women. This campaign has garnered international awards for its powerful impact on Iranian society and attention for the harsh backlash against its organizers by the government.
  • Iranian activist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani documented the campaign in Iranian Women's One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality: The Inside Story, a book translated, published, and widely disseminated by WLP in Persian, Arabic, Russian, and English as part of WLP’s Translation Series.
  • Our Iranian partners have translated and adapted nearly all of our training manuals into Persian. The have used our documentaries with Persian subtitles in their leadership workshops. And they have translated and disseminated the Persian language edition of the Guide to Equality in the Family in the Maghreb, published by WLP.
Notwithstanding the high level of cultural and social status that Iranian women enjoyed, after the Iranian Revolution, numerous discriminatory laws were passed. Sometimes, I think the Iranian Revolution was the revolution of men against women.

,Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Founder, Defenders of Human Rights Center

About Iran

  • Population: 86.7 million
  • Persia, as Iran was known before 1935, was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world, and the country has long maintained a distinct cultural identity within the Islamic world by retaining its own language and adhering to the Shia interpretation of Islam.
  • Economy: Ranked 18th in the world
  • In 1979, after the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, conservative clerical forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established a theocratic government system.
  • Government: Theocratic Republic
  • Legal system: Religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law.
  • Religions: Muslim 99.6% (Shia 90-95%, Sunni 5-10%), other 0.3% (Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian), unspecified 0.2%
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 6%
  • Labor force 17.3% female
  • Female literacy: 80.8%
  • Maternal mortality rate: 16 deaths per 100,000 births
  • Citizenship: The father must be a citizen of Iran
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