Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Never Mind Women Ministers, Where are the Women’s Votes?

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The Feminist School

During the campaign of the 10th presidential election (women’s coalition for women’s demands in the election) tried to contact Mr Ahmadinejad as one of the 4 candidates, so we could put our questions and concerns on women’s issues, but according to his schedule the meeting did not take place. His lack of response (unlike the other 3 candidates), is indicative of his attempt to avoid facing women interviewers- something that did not escape them. Of course women’s movement has not forgotten how in the election campaign for the ninth presidential election, he supported women’s entry to sports gymnasium, played down the adherence to the Islamic dress code for young girls and women, so as to paint a different image of itself among women and to add to his votes. But his action on women’s issues which has the support of the minority neo-conservatives makes a different story. Smaller university quotas for female students, mobilisations of moral police and arrests and imprisonment of thousands of women and girls, reversal of social, political, cultural and economical steps taken by the reformist government, harassment of women activists so much so that many of them are either in the prisons or the unending court sessions.

Early retirement and change of full time work to part time for women, practically destroying all that women had struggled to achieve during the past 30 years after the revolution. With the arrival of the 10th presidential election women and the rest of the society hoped that we would have a government in line with the social movement, which would bring about a forward looking or different outlook than what existed, but this was not the case. Currently this government has no political legitimacy and any agenda it sets has no legitimacy in the eyes of the women’s movement. Perhaps if the events after the election had not unfolded the way they did, we might have written now of the breaking down of the taboo of preventing women from entering higher echelons of political hierarchy (that is if it can avoid the fate that befell the regime’s claim of support for women’ entry in to universities), or we might have discussed the abilities of the women nominated for ministerial posts, or the very present conditions, we must ask how it is that a government that has resorted to the most undemocratic means before the eyes of millions of Iranians and foreign witnesses- to remain in power and one that has itself turned into an obstacle in the way of democratisation in Iran, has now changed position with regard to women’s rights and has considered women’s participation in government at the level of ministries. (Read more...)