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Promoting Gender Equality on Campus

Shirin Ebad receives the price of tolerance (Toleranzpreis) of the Evangelische

Women's Week at Concordia University. Story by Emily White -  In honour of the 99th anniversary of International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, the Women’s Caucus at Concordia University , Montreal in Quebec, Canada, has organized events for the entire week. The goal is to highlight the many achievements of women and to promote gender equality on campus.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize 2003 winner Shirin Ebadi looks on at Evangelische Akademie on October 1, 2008 in Tutzing, Germany. Shirin Ebad receives the price of tolerance (Toleranzpreis) of the Evangelische Akademie.Iranian Nobel Peace Prize 2003 winner Shirin Ebadi looks on at Evangelische Akademie on October 1, 2008 in Tutzing, Germany. Shirin Ebad receives the price of tolerance (Toleranzpreis) of the Evangelische Akademie.“A lot of people feel that women’s issues are not present in our society anymore and that genders are equal,” explains Leah Del Vecchio, the chair of the Women’s Caucus. “But unfortunately, women and men are still treated differently in the workforce and people seem to have forgotten about [the inequality] because it is not as bad as it used to be, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.”

  A part of the Concordia Student Union, the Women’s Caucus is made up of five members, all of whom hold CSU positions. Del Vecchio explains that when they asked themselves what they wanted the group to represent, they felt organizing Women’s Week would be a great way to make an impact.

 “We didn’t want to just focus on the oppression of women, we are also celebrating what women have done,” said Del Vecchio. “The goal was not to make it a negative week where we would tell people ‘look at how women are treated badly’ but rather we wanted to say ‘look at all the great things women have done’.”

Keynote Speaker: Shirin Ebadi - March 10 at 5 p.m. in H-110

Ebadi, a lawyer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will speak to the Concordia community about the role that women play in modern peace movements.

Biography by Prince Ralph Osei

Shirin Ebadi is the first Iranian to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her outspoken campaigns for human rights and democracy in her own country of Iran.

Shirin Ebadi was born in the city of Hamedan, Iran in 1947. Her family were academics and practicing Muslims. Shirin Ebadi graduated from Tehran University and went onto become Iran’s first female judge, serving from 1975. However after the Islamic revolution of 1979 she was forced to resign, as women were no longer allowed to serve as judges.

During a long period of unemployment Shirin wrote many books and articles on issues of human rights. In 1992 Shirin finally obtained a lawyers certificate enabling her to set up her own practice, she has defended many victims of child abuse and murder. Shirin Ebadi has also established two non-governmental organizations in Iran, the Iranian Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child and the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights.

Shirin has a quite and soft spoken nature but this belies her stubbornness and unwillingness to be silenced on politically sensitive legal cases. Her work for human rights in Iran have won her admiration and respect from humanitarian bodies across the globe. However in Iran her promotion of human rights issues and politically sensitive issues have led to clashes with the conservative judiciary. In 2000 she was given a suspended jail sentence for promoting evidence that prominent conservative leaders were instigating attacks on pro reform leaders.

Shirin Ebadi is currently married with two children. As well as the Nobel Peace Prize she has been given other awards as well.

An official Human Rights Watch observer, 1996.
The selection of The Rights of the Child as Book of the Year by the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry.
Recipient of the Rafto Human Rights Foundation prize for human rights activities, Norway 2001.
The Nobel Peace Prize, Norway 2003.

This event is free for all members of the Concordia community, be part of this historic moment.

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