Sunday, May 31, 2009



Tel.: (949) 466-0142




Southern California activists celebrate June 12, the Iranian Women's Solidarity Day

June 12th is the fourth anniversary of the historic gathering in 2005 near Tehran University organized by Iranian women demanding gender equality in the legal system. This peaceful demonstration was attended by more than six thousand women and men, and was supported by over ninety groups and NGOs in Iran with a broad range of concerns from women's rights to the environment and education. The following year, on June 12th 2006, a similar gathering for gender equality organized in 7th Tir square in Tehran was met with a harsh police reaction and the arrest of seventy participants. Undeterred by the backlash, this gathering grew over the following months into an extensive grassroots movement called the One Million Signatures Campaign, which has spread to most cities and provinces in Iran. Today, it is a worldwide movement, with branches in thirteen countries, and has received widespread acknowledgement and support. So far in 2009 the Campaign has been awarded prizes for its work by the Simone de Beauvoir Foundation in France and the Feminist Majority Foundation in the USA.

June 12th 2009 is of special significance as it coincides with the first round of voting in the Iranian presidential elections. Activists from the Campaign are among the members of different women’s movement groups that have come together in an election coalition, not supporting any one candidate but demanding that all candidates pledge to tackle a number of specific issues relating to women. A first fruit of this coalition has been the promise by one candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, to seek an official explanation for the rejection of all female presidential candidates by the Guardians Council, the body entrusted with the vetting of candidates.

The One Million Signatures Campaign raises awareness by public dissemination of information about discriminatory laws, and seeks to promote social justice through a petition that calls for legal reform. Based entirely on volunteer labor, the movement has no political agenda and instead presents information about the Iranian legal system in a non-ideological manner. People around the world can join in peaceful protest against discrimination by signing the Campaign's petition in support of the Iranians' demand for legal gender equality. Forms of support can include printing the petition from the campaign website, circulating it and sending it in, and talking about the campaign with family and friends.

The Campaign is well represented in areas with large Iranian immigrant populations, including Southern California, which is home to the largest number of Iranians outside Iran. The local chapter of the Campaign comprises Iranian-American graduate students and professionals, who not only promote awareness of the campaign's efforts but also aim to protect activists within Iran by calling attention to an ongoing crackdown on peaceful and law-abiding Campaign volunteers on the part of the Iranian authorities.


For more information about this press release, or to schedule an interview with a local campaign organizer, please call Peyman Malaz (949) 466-0142 or email

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