Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist who received the Nobel Peace Prize for her outstanding contributions to democracy and human rights. Ebadi was born into an educated Muslim family in Iran and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Tehran after completing her secondary education. Following that, she passed the judge qualification exams and earned a doctorate in law, eventually becoming the first woman president of the Tehran city court in 1975. Ebadi was forced to resign after several years in the post following the 1979 revolution and was not permitted to practice law until 1993. Throughout this time period, she wrote books and contributed articles to Iranian journals, establishing herself as a prolific advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Since resuming her law practice, Ebadi has taken on a number of contentious political and social cases and exposed government officials, earning her frequent imprisonment. Ebadi also advocated for nonviolent solutions to serious social problems and a reinterpretation of Islamic law that is consistent with fundamental human rights. Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her pioneering efforts to promote democracy and human rights as the founder and leader of several leading associations for children and women’s rights. Ebadi, a stalwart supporter of women’s and children’s rights struggles, continues to work as an upright lawyer and devoted human rights activist.
Childhood & Adolescence
Shirin Ebadi was born in Hamedan, northwestern Iran, on June 21, 1947, into an educated Muslim family. Her father, Mohammad Ali Ebadi, was a commercial law professor. She had a sister named Noushin, and when Ebadi was a year old, her family relocated to Tehran.
Ebadi attended Firuzkuhi primary school and then Anoshiravn Dadgar and Reza Shah Kabir secondary schools. In 1965, she enrolled at the University of Tehran’s Faculty of Law.
After graduating, she passed the entrance exam to become a judge, and in March 1969, Ebadi became one of Iran’s first female judges. In 1971, she also received a doctorate in private law from Tehran University.
Career of Shirin Ebadi
She served as the first woman president of the Tehran city court from 1975 to 1979, but was demoted to a clerical position at the court following the 1979 revolution and establishment of an Islamic republic.
Together with other female judges, Ebadi spoke out against this act, compelling authorities to elevate them within the Department of Justice, but women were still barred from serving as judges. Thus, Ebadi retired early and decided to practice law, but was denied a lawyer’s license for an extended period of time, until 1992.
While she waited for her attorney’s license to be approved, she began teaching human rights training courses at the University of Tehran. Additionally, she wrote books and contributed articles to Iranian journals during this time period.
She began practicing law and became an advocate for civil rights in 1992, after finally obtaining a license. Following that, she took on numerous contentious political and social cases, including representing the mother of Arin Golshani, a girl tortured and murdered while in her father’s custody. Ebadi later represented serial murder victims’ families as well as the mother of a murdered photojournalist.
In 1999, she testified against government officials in connection with the murders of students at Tehran University, for which Ebadi faced a three-week prison sentence. She has also defended numerous other cases involving child abuse and periodicals prohibitions.
Additionally, she founded two non-profit organizations in Iran: the ‘Association for Children’s Rights’ in 1995 and the ‘Human Rights Defense Center’ in 2001.
Ebadi was the first Iranian woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work promoting democracy and human rights.
Ebadi is the author of several books on human rights, including ‘The History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran’ (2000) and ‘The Rights of Women’ (2002). (2002). She published ‘Iran Awakening: From Prison to Peace Prize, One Woman’s Struggle at a Crossroads’ (2006) in 2006, based on her own experiences.
Significant Works of Shirin Ebadi
In 1975, Ebadi was appointed president of Bench 24 of Tehran’s City Court, the first woman to hold this position in Iran’s history. Later, after obtaining her private attorney’s license, she began taking on human rights cases, advocating for the disadvantaged, particularly women and children.
As a human rights activist, Ebadi has worked tirelessly to promote peaceful solutions to social problems and to strengthen children’s and women’s legal status. She has been instrumental in empowering women and defending children’s rights throughout the world.
Awards and Accomplishments
Shirin Ebadi was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering efforts to advance democracy and human rights in Iran, particularly those of women and children.
Ebadi received the International Democracy Award and the Lawyer of the Year award in 2004.
In 2006, she was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration.
She has been awarded numerous honorary doctorates by universities worldwide, including those at the University of Maryland, the University of Toronto, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Cambridge.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1975, she married electrical engineer Javsd Tavassolian. Nargess and Negar are the couple’s daughters.
Estimated Net Worth
Shirin Ebadi is one of the wealthiest judges and is ranked among the most popular. Shirin Ebadi’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.