Yanar Mohammed

2008 Women's Rights Prize

Laureate Profile

Yanar Mohammed has spoken out publicly, in spite of the danger to her own life, against the religious fundamentalism and nationalism that serve to oppress the women of Iraq and the Middle East. In 2003, she co-founded Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) to help achieve full equality for women in post-war Iraq. She is the publisher of Al Mousawat, which calls for full equality for women. Mohammed and her organization have opened two women’s shelters and several safe houses to protect women threatened by domestic abuse and what are termed honor killings. She trains activists in how to confront gender bias growing out of long-held cultural beliefs and practices. She has built support for women’s rights in Iraq at the grassroots and national level through OWFI and has fought for constitutional changes that would extend greater rights and protection to women and girls.