Target: Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi
Goal: Support UN investigation into unfair decision by Iran universities to restrict access to 77 higher-education degrees to men only
As the female student population on Iran’s college campuses grows, 36 Iranian universities have decided to restrict access to 77 higher-education degrees to men only. Many of these degrees are in Iran’s most sought-after industries–including English translation, computer science and business. This ruling comes at a time when women are the current majority of Iran’s student population–they make up approximately 65%. But with fewer degree options, there could be a rapid decrease in registered female students.
This is not the first time education rights have been under attack in Iran. A recent ruling barred members of the minority Baha’i religion access to higher education institutions, and the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education faces continued persecution and threats of being shut down by the Iranian government.
In response to the strike against women’s educational rights in her home country, human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi has called on the United Nations to launch an investigation into this ruling. Ebadi is the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, related to her human rights work in Iran serving women and children. Showing wide support for her request could help move the UN to action in responding to this assault on women’s rights.
It might also prevent more severe forms of discrimination in education that some universities are employing by not allowing female students in any program, under the guise that they are not employable. Show the UN you support equal rights in education and reinforce Ebadi’s goal.
Dear Dr. Ebadi,
I support your request of the UN to investigate the recent decision by Iranian universities to bar women’s access to particular degree programs. This, in addition to the ruling to prevent Baha’i students from pursuing higher education, leaves me concerned for the state of education rights in Iran. This is an egregious strike against human rights and one that should be reversed immediately to prevent even further discrimination in this field.
Protecting the right to education should be of concern to anyone who wants to progress the cause of ensuring human rights for all. I add my voice to yours to call on the UN to move forward with an investigation that hopefully results in reversal of this unfair decision.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hamed Saber via Flickr