Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights for defending the rights of women and children as well as fighting for democracy in the Islamic world. She is the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ebadi was the first female judge in Iran. According to the Associated Press, Ebadi is admired by Iranians for her lifetime of work defending freedom of speech and political freedom for victims of attacks by Iran’s hard-liners. Ebadi has also argued for a new interpretation of Islamic law that is in line with human rights and equality before the law, reports the Associated Press. She served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975-79 and was then asked to step down after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Since then she has been an activist for democracy and the rights of refugees, children, and women.
Pope John Paul was also nominated for the award. Some speculate that the Pope did not receive the award because of his opposition to birth control and women priests. Ebadi is the 11th woman to win since the Nobel Prize was founded in 1901.