Shirin Ebadi

Nobel Peace Laureate 2003

Region(s): Middle East
Country of focus: Iran

Shirin Ebadi 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. Shirin was one of the first female judges in Iran and was the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status. She and other women judges were dismissed after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Since obtaining her lawyer’s license in 1992, Shirin has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times. She  established the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran and other nongovernmental organizations, including the One Million Signatures Campaign demanding an end to Iranian law that legalizes discrimination against women.

She has written five books, including Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran (2016), made into a feature film in 2020.

In January 2006, along with sister Nobel laureate Jody Williams, Shirin took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality.