Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner whose relentless campaign against discrimination has enraged the mullahs for years, is urging other women to find their voices. Her newest effort is to help collect the signatures of 1 million Iranian women on a petition protesting their lack of legal rights under Iran's interpretation of Islamic law. The hope is that they will then be less likely to accept injustice indefinitely. And if Iran's women start questioning their second-class status, perhaps Iran's men will have the courage to speak out too. The Iranian government certainly understands the implications: It recently blocked access to the campaign's Web site. But within hours the women had another site up and running. "By getting 1 million signatures, the world will know we object to these conditions," says Ebadi. Instead of one courageous woman for the government to contend with, the campaign will have reaped a million.
Maura J. Casey