Hardline women won't help Iran
Guardian / Massoumeh Torfeh

It is difficult to know how to react to the decision by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran to propose three women in his new cabinet, two of whom he has already named. Should I be proud, as an Iranian woman, that for the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic women will be proposed for cabinet posts? Well, I wish I could feel proud. The reality is that if Ahmadinejad had chosen two ultra-hardline conservative men for the same posts it would have made no difference in terms of policy and vision.

He has proposed Fatemeh Ajorlou for the welfare and social security ministry and Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi for the health ministry. Both women, as members of Iran's majlis or parliament, have been advocating draconian changes to family laws and women's rights laws making it even more difficult for women to benefit from equal rights, get divorced, have custody of their children, or have an abortion if they so choose. They are both strong supporters of the role of women as pious mothers devoted to Islam, to their duties to their husbands, and to the Islamic republic.

Ajorlou, who is an MP in the present parliament, is a notorious advocate of punishment of women who ignore the dress code. She is an outspoken supporter of the chador – the head-to-toe black Islamic cover – as the ... >>>

recommended by Shifteh Ansari