At A Glance

Indices and Rankings
Gender Gap Ranking1 #127
Gender Inequality Index2 0.485
HDI Ranking3 #88
Political Participation
Women parliamentarians lower/upper houses 3%/--
Women in Parliament ranking #137/133
Women at ministerial level (ranking) 3% (#92)
Year women received right to vote/be elected 1963/1963

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GovernmentTheocratic republic
Total population78.9 million
GDP per capita (PPP) $13,200
HDI ranking3#88
Population under age 1524%
Urban population71%
Internet users53%
LanguagesPersian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, other 2%

Indices Education & Employment Political Participation
Sources (January 2013): CIA World Factbook, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Internet World Stats, MDG Info 2010, Quota Project, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNICEF ChildInfo , UNICEF State of the World's Children 2011, United Nations Development Project Human Development Reports, World Economic Forum, World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Database. 1.The World Economic Forum's Gender Gap index assesses how well countries divide resources and opportunities amongs male and female populations in four areas: economic participation and opportunity (salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment), educational attainment (access to basic and higher level education), health and survival (life expectancy and sex ratio), and political empowerment (representation in decision-making structures). 2. The UNDP's Gender Inequality Index is designed to reveal the extent to which national human development achievements are eroded by gender inequality. It is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health (maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate), empowerment (share of parliamentary seats, and secondary and higher education attainment levels) and the labour market (women's participation in the work force). It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). 3. The UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary composite index that measures a country's average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: health, knowledge, and income. It was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. 4. Vulnerable employment is a Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 1B indicator; vulnerable employments are lower productivity and informal activities such as own-account workers and unpaid family workers. They are therefore more likely to lack benefi ts associated with decent employment, such as adequate social security and recourse to effective mechanisms for social dialogue. Vulnerable employment is often characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity and substandard working conditions that undermine fundamental labour rights.
Gender Gap Ranking1 #127 Adult literacy rate, females as a % of males 90% Women parliamentarians lower/upper houses 3%/--
Gender Inequality Index2 0.485 Population with secondary education, female/male ratio 68% Women in Parliament ranking #137
Vulnerable employment for women (men)4 52.4% (39.9%) Women at ministerial level (ranking) 3% (#92)
Year women received right to vote/be elected 1963/1963
Lifetime risk in maternal death, 1 in 2400 Quota type --
Births per woman 1.7 Constitutional quota in lower house --
Births per 1000 women aged 15-19 31 Electoral quota in lower house --
Voluntary political party quotas --

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Women's Movement of Iran

Our work in support of Iranian human rights activists has focused specifically on bolstering the women’s movement and the One Million Signatures campaign in Iran. WLP has been working with this network, providing curriculum and training in Persian; raising awareness of the human rights violations facing women activists and human rights defenders; and promoting Iranian women’s equality and legal reform in international media and through WLP’s Translation Series. Read More >

In The News

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Reports & Updates
October 6, 2010 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran's One Million Signatures Campaign, Iran
Change for Equality: Nasrin Sotoodeh, a human rights lawyer who has taken up the task of representing many social and political activists as well as juvenile offenders on a pro-bono basis has, according to several reports, been on a hunger strike since September 24. Nasrin Sotoodeh was arrested on September 4 after she was issued a summons to appear in court. The summons to appear in court followed a search of her home and confiscation of personal property by security forces.
October 3, 2010 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran's One Million Signatures Campaign, Iran
Change for Equality: According to a news report by Daneshjoo News website, Navid Mohebbi, a blogger and an activist in the One Million Signatures Campaign was arrested on the 18th of September. According to reports published on the site of the Committee for Human Rights Reporters, this activist was arrested in his family home in Amol city. He has since been moved to a prison in Sari. These same reports indicate that Navid was beaten and threatened during the arrest.
September 28, 2010 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran's One Million Signatures Campaign, Iran
Change for Equality: More than 5000 signatures were delivered to the Iranian parliament(Majles) in opposition to passing and promotion of a polygamy law.
August 30, 2010 | Human Rights, Iran's One Million Signatures Campaign, Iran, One Million Signatures Inside Story
Four years have passed since the start of our struggle for equality. Four years filled with major changes and upheavals for the people of Iran. A Campaign which started with the goal of changing ten laws, from numerous discriminatory laws in Iran’s legal code, is today facing both encouragement and criticism.
June 28, 2010 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran
Zeynab Jalalian, whose death sentence for “Enmity against God” was confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court in November 2009, is now at risk of imminent execution. The exact date and time of the execution has not been released, but her sentence has been submitted for implementation and may take place in a matter of hours or days. This news comes from her attorney, whose efforts to represent Jalalian were rejected by the courts.
September 30, 2008 | eNews 21, Iran
On July 26, 2006, Ashraf Kalhori, a 37 year old mother of four, learned that her sentence of death by stoning was about to be carried out. Until that point, the punishment of stoning, which had officially been under a moratorium since 2002, had remained a taboo topic in Iranian public discourse. Ms. Kalhori’s case, however, mobilized a group of lawyers and transnational women’s activists who were concerned that this unmentionable punishment was in fact becoming more commonplace. From this seed, the “Stop Stoning Forever” campaign, and ultimately the work of Women’s Field (Meydaan), a trailblazing website and network of women’s rights activists in Iran, took root.
March 21, 2007 | Afghanistan, ICT for Social Change, Leadership, Leading to Choices, Iran
From January-March 2004, four leading Afghan and Iranian participants worked together over a ten-week period to develop, test and adapt the curriculum for the Persian eCourse. Course sessions focused on four primary areas of leadership learning: exploring the concept of participatory leadership and the ethics of good leadership, examining personal leadership skills, developing a personal vision statement, and formulating a shared vision statement.
June 19, 2006 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran
Mehrangiz Kar, journalist and Iranian women's rights activist, who was jailed in April 2000 for her writings and speeches on women's rights, was allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment for breast cancer in fall 2001. After she arrived in the United States, her husband, journalist Siamak Pourzand, was disappeared. He was brought to the phone a number of times to call Mehrangiz and their daughters Leila and Azadeh to pass on the message that they must refrain from speaking on his behalf and must avoid contact with the media.
December 7, 2000 | Human Rights Alerts, Iran
Updates on the arrests of lawyer and human rights advocate, Mehrangiz Kar; women's rights activist Shahla Lahiji; and human rights attorney Shirin Ebadi.


Mahnaz Afkhami

Languages Spoken: 
Area(s) of Expertise: 
Country/Region of Expertise: 

Nationality:  Iran (Islamic Republic of), United States
Profession:  Activist, Scholar/Writer
Languages Spoken:  English, Persian
Area(s) of Expertise:  Democracy & Governance, Leadership, Religion & Culture, Women's Human Rights
Country/Region of Expertise:  Iran (Islamic Republic of), Middle East and North African Region (MENA)

S:SSO to Sakai