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Women’s Learning Partnership

Support Iranian Women: Join the “One Million Signatures” Campaign

Tuesday 20 February 2007


Iranian women’s rights activists are fighting gender apartheid through the “One Million Signatures” campaign, which demands an end to discriminatory laws against women. At present, men have the sole right to divorce and except in special cases, the right to custody of children. One man’s testimony equals that of two women. A man’s worth is twice that of a woman in cases of murder or bodily injury. A daughter receives half a son’s inheritance. And certain positions, such as that of a judge, are closed to women. The campaign aims to collect one million signatures in support of granting women equal legal status with men. It is a continuation of Iranian women’s century-long struggle for gender equality.

The two-year “One Million Signatures” campaign, a follow-up to the June 12, 2006 demonstrations that was violently broken up by security forces, has devised a simple mobilization concept. Activists contact women where women usually gather – shops, schools, offices, hair salons, or their homes. They ask them to sign the petition, but whether they sign or not, they receive a booklet explaining how the Iranian legal system denies women full rights. Thus, even the women who do not sign the petition will be informed about their second-class status. 30,000 women have already signed.

The strength of the campaign rests on the bottom-up strategy, the interaction between activists and ordinary women, the peaceful and non-violent approach to legal reform, and on stressing the importance of each woman’s agency and choice. The dialogue and the learning help transform the political culture and provide the building blocks of a dynamic social justice movement.

The campaign creatively combines traditional door-to-door petitioning with modern technology: it collects signatures through the face-to-face method and also uses the internet to expand and expedite the process. It provides an opportunity for anyone interested in promoting gender justice to join. Please add your signature to the revolutionary One Million Signatures campaign. (Scroll to the end of this page http://www.we-change.org/spip.php?article19).

For further information, please read:

"Challenging the Mullahs, One Signature at a Time," New York Times editorial "Iran’s Women’s Rights Movement and the One Million Signatures Campaign," We-Change website "They have no problem with our demands: believe me!" (Persian), Herlandmag website

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