Insider news & Analysis in Iran
In Iran, Women’s Political Participation a Trick Used to mislead West

By INU Staff

INU- One of the Iranian regime’s official state-run websites published an article at the beginning of the Persian New Year that discussed the reasons for the failure of women’s political participation.

The article was entitled, “The government of hope and disappointment of women in 1397” (which corresponds to March 2018- March 2019), and the Didarnews website made some revealing admissions regarding women’s political participation in Iran. These were facts that have been emphasized by the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran for many years.

According to the March 21st article in Didarnews, “The presence of women in political positions is not necessarily synonymous with the improvement of the discriminatory social and political status of women in society. The limited participation of women as parliamentarians or ministerial deputies in the political structure has little impact on changing the legal procedures in favor of women or on improving their social status.”

Didarnews goes on to point out that during his election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani promised “to draft bills specially to protect women’s rights.” However, the article adds, “During the first term of Hassan Rouhani’s presidency, a bill on the elimination of violence against women that had been drafted under the Ahmadinejad government was revised as a bill to protect women’s lives.

The bill was reviewed and sent to the judiciary before being submitted to the parliament due to the criticisms raised against it. The judiciary promised that the bill would go to parliament before the end of Persian year 1396 (March 2017- March 2018), but after removing 41 articles from the bill, the promise has not yet been fulfilled.

“The bill on child marriages also faced a similar fate. Strong opposition from various groups in the parliament on the one hand, and the intolerance of women in the government against these oppositions on the other, led to the failure to pass the bill.”

Didarnews asks, “Why do women in the political arena have no impact despite their efforts?” After years of efforts by women’s and children’s advocates, none of the bills have had positive outcomes.

“(T)hey could not even take one bill in favor of women to the parliament and succeed,” stated former presidential deputy for women and family affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi. She is also quoted as saying, “Women’s issues in Iran are political, thus, acting as a fundamental obstacle for the adoption of amendments to the bills involving issues of women.

Looking at the process of drafting and examining the bills for women and children, we find that statesmen, and particularly the male MPs, are not only unaware of these bills, but also strongly oppose once they hear about them. On the other hand, as is the case with the fate of women’s bills, the presence of women in political positions is not necessarily synonymous with the improvement of the discriminatory social and political status of women in society.”

As stated by the Iranian Resistance, “the mullahs’ regime, due to its misogynistic nature, can never be an advocate of women’s rights." Empowering women’s political participation would hinder the regime’s goals. Its very foundation is based on gender discrimination and male domination. They would be unable to maintain their political system if they provide opportunities for women’s participation.

Women in Iran are exploited as cheap labor. Their wages are not only unequal to men’s wages, but are also one tenth of the official minimum wage. Worse than that, under Iran’s patriarchal system, the very clothing a woman wears are determined by the government, and they cannot study, work, marry, or even leave their homes without a male relative’s permission.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran warns that the regime’s display of recruitment of a handful of women in the ruling regime is just a promotion used to present a modern image to the West to secure commercial deals. In fact, the three female deputies at the president’s office — the “vice-presidents” — do not enjoy executive powers or authority. Despite his campaign promises, Rouhani did not include a single woman in his cabinet after being re-elected.

As Iran’s state-run media explains some facts about women’s political participation, the regime is making efforts to ease situation and contain the protests. The truth of the Iranian Resistance’s revelations over the years has once again been proven.

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