Enhancing Women’s Share in Majlis

Enhancing Women’s  Share in MajlisEnhancing Women’s  Share in Majlis

On the sidelines of the recent Press and News Agencies Exhibition in Tehran, eight women activists got together to discuss proposals and make recommendations to increase women’s participation in the upcoming Majlis (Parliament) elections.

Iran’s law-making body has 290 members, including nine women, down from 13 in the previous legislative elections. The next Majlis elections are scheduled for next February.

The meeting ‘Women and Parliamentary Election’ focused on ways to support women’s electioneering and deal with maleficent campaigns against them, Khabaronline reported.

The meeting was attended by Sharareh Hosseinzadeh, political sociologist, Nahid Tavassoli, researcher in women’s affairs, Shima Ghousheh, lawyer, Nayereh Tavakoli, sociologist, Afsar Mumundi Kazemi, strategic planning expert and researcher, Zhila Movvahed Shariat Panahi, Qur’anic researcher, Farzaneh Torkan, a member of the board of Executives of Construction Party and Farideh Hamidi, psychologist.

 Good Credentials

When asked how women can and should provide funding for the costly election campaign, Tavassoli said, “The candidates need not necessarily be well-known. If people search for their names on the Internet they will realize that they have good credentials; many of our prospective female candidates do not need to publicize their activities.”

Shariat Panahi said the world of communication is no longer limited to newspapers and books; everyone now has access to the virtual world; therefore women candidates should plan their manifesto with care and share it on cyberspace with the masses. There is no need to spend huge amounts on election campaigns.”

Hamidi suggested that women candidates can work through universities and educational institutions.

Abdolhosseinzadeh said: “We must prioritize elite women in the candidates list and not introduce only a few women just for the sake of it.”

Tavakoli proposed increasing women’s general awareness about the advantages of voting for women candidates. “Only women MPs can defend the rights of women. Unfortunately at present, most of the legislative bills on important issues are written by men thereby paying less attention to women’s concerns.”

Women’s propensity to pay more attention to detail makes them better lawmakers, she said.

Kazemi said a special quota for women in Parliament should be considered to promote their greater participation in the decision-making process.

The percentage of women in the Parliament has steadily declined from 4.9% in 1997-2000 to 2.8% in 2009-2012. Today the number is a paltry 3.1%.