Women Making Slow Progress in Politics, Management

Among the 350 senior management posts at the IRCS branches across the country, 150 are occupied by women. Among the 350 senior management posts at the IRCS branches across the country, 150 are occupied by women.

Women across the world, whether in Iran or the developed world, struggle to make inroads on the political scene and top management posts in their respective governments, said Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.

“Women’s strong presence in key areas, enables and empowers them against many forms of discrimination, increases their self-esteem in gaining an independent identity, and helps them in social and personal growth,” she said at the ‘Meeting of Female Vanguards and Political Elite’ held last week at the Interior Ministry.

Molaverdi earlier had censured the rate of economic participation of Iranian women as one the lowest in the world, after the latest Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum revealed Iran ranks 141 among the total 145 countries surveyed.

Despite the undesirable current state, women have steadily been progressing in social and political arenas.

According to Fahimeh Farahmandpour, advisor to the interior minister in women and family affairs, the number of female village chiefs in the country has increased 10-fold since their first election 16 years ago.

“There were only 150 female village chiefs in the first elections in 2000, which increased to 400 in the second, 888 in the third, and 1,544 in the last elections,” she said at the conclave.

“It seems the faith and trust women receive at the local level is more than the support they get on a national scale.

The village chief is the main executive officer of the village elected for a four year term. There are more than 64,000 villages in the country, half of which remain deserted due to multiple reasons. Although the number is insignificant compared with the number of villages in the country, the increasing trend is promising, since villages are the most traditional communities in the country.

  Women Willing to Participate

Over half of senior management posts at the IRCS are women, said Farahnaz Rafe, head of the volunteer affairs department at the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

“Among the 350 senior management posts at the IRCS branches across the country, 150 are occupied by women,” she noted.

A growing number of women are also getting trained in ‘Enabled Teams’ as mountain rescuers, swimming guards, and pilots.

Additionally, an unprecedented number of women were elected to city councils in local elections held across Iran in August. Voters elected women candidates to run seven councils in the provinces of Mazandaran, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Gilan and Sistan-Baluchistan. A total of 3,000 women are also members of city or rural councils.

In the parliamentary elections held on February 26 and the run-offs on April 29, 17 women were elected, the first largest representation of women in the 290-member assembly in 16 years, after the fifth Majlis (1996-2000) which had 14 women lawmakers.

“The number is small compared with global standards, and we are trying to increase women’s share in political posts,” Farahmandpour noted.

Right now, there are 45 women in senior management, four are mayors, and five are university chancellors.

Also, nearly 2,000 women are operating as deputies at various government bodies such as governorates, general governorates, vice presidencies, and ministries.

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