They are Women of the Year because: “One Million Signatures seized every opportunity to show the world that they do not agree with the discriminatory laws in Iran.” —Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2008 Glamour Woman of the Year
Watching the thousands of women who joined their peers to defy bullets and police batons in the streets of Iran this June, you’d never guess that each one’s life was, legally speaking, worth only half a man’s. Via shaky cell phone images on TV, viewers around the world saw slender arms raised in the air and green scarves slipping back on the heads of female marchers as they stood alongside men to demand a recount of what they insist was a rigged presidential election. They risked their lives—and some made the ultimate sacrifice, like 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, whose shooting rocked the Internet.
Yet few outside Iran realized that these brave women are denied the most basic rights. Examples abound: Their husbands can divorce them on a whim, demand that they live in polygamy or marry off their daughters at age 13. And if a girl as young as nine commits a capital crime—for example, killing a man who tries to rape her—she can be put to death.
June’s postelection fervor was called a women’s revolt by many, but Iranian women may have first found the courage to speak out thanks to an earlier movement: the One Million Signatures Campaign. For the past three years, members of the… >>>