The One Million Signatures Campaign at AWID

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Change for Equality: On November 14th the first day of the Awid Conference, activists in the One Million Signatures Campaign held a session in order to introduce the Campaign—a peaceful and civic effort designed to change discriminatory laws against women in Iran.

This session included a short speech by Shirin Ebadi about the women’s rights movement in Iran as well as its history and strategies. Then four activists from the Campaign discussed their experiences and the strategies adopted by the Campaign in pressing forth its demands. These activists provided a general introduction and examples of successful and unique strategies used by the Campaign, such as face-to-face education strategies used in discussions with citizens interested in signing the petition of the Campaign, use of arts to communicate the message of the Campaign with the public, use of communicative technology by Campaign activists, such as the internet, podcasts, videos, You Tube, and Facebook, and the Campaign’s impact on building the capacity of members to use these new technologies, the challenges and pressures faced by Campaign activists, and the presence, collaboration and cooperation of three generations of women’s rights activists as well as men in the Campaign.

The issue of leadership and decision making in the campaign was a point of special interest to the audience at the session. The other point of interest was Iranian women’s abilities and capacities and success in different social areas and in particular in academia (over 65% of university graduates in Iran are women and women are active in a large array of social and professional areas).

But the most important characteristic of the campaign which was discussed in the session was the financial independence of the Campaign, which the audience found to be remarkable and unique.
Over 100 activists from different countries like India, Bahrain, Kuwait, South Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Germany, France, Canada, etc. attended the Campaign’s session.

photo by: Raha


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