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Prominent Iranian Activist Simin Behbahani Receives Award In Paris


PARIS, RFE/RL -- A prominent Iranian poet and women's rights defender Simin Behbahani received the "Simone De Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom" in Paris on January 21.

The prize recognizes the work and actions of individuals, who contribute to the freedom of women around the world.

Simin Behbahani

Behbahani told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the prize will support and encourage the feminist movements in Iran. She represents Iran's One Million Signature Campaign that aims at gathering public support against discriminatory laws.

The movement has been under increasing state pressure in Iran and many of its members have been detained or summoned to court.

Iranian Women's Organization Featured by VOAs Persian News Network

Washington, D.C., January 21, 2009 - One Million Signature Campaign, a grassroots Iranian women's organization that received the prestigious 2009 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom today, is the subject of special, in-depth Voice of America (VOA) coverage.

Hamideh Aramideh, the anchor of Today's Woman, a daily show on VOA's Persian News Network (PNN), is in Paris, France to cover the event. On Thursday, she will host live from Paris a show that features poet Simin Behbahani, a human rights activist at the forefront of One Million Signature Campaign, and Shahla Shafigh, who has also worked on the campaign.

One Million Signature Campaign works against discriminatory laws in Iran, such as men's uncontested right to divorce, polygamy, and child custody.

Alex Belida, PNN's acting director, said the coverage is an example of the network's "ability to go anywhere, anytime, live, to bring our Iranian audience news and information that they deserve to see and hear."

The Simone de Beauvoir Prize, founded in 2008 on the 100th anniversary of de Beauvoir's birth, is awarded annually to individuals or groups fighting for gender equality. The prize is named for the French philosopher who espoused gender equality.

VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. PNN broadcasts seven hours of television a day, repeated for a full 24 hours.

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