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

Fatemeh Govaraee / Translated by :Azar

Tuesday 15 September 2009, by admin

Feminist School: During the campaign of the 10th presidential election, The Coalition of the Iranian Women’s Movement for Viocing their 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.

Has there occurred a sudden shift in the regime’s attitude towards women, their abilities and rights, or is it yet another mendacious attempt at diverting the attention of women activists from the true nature of the development?

Unfortunately, a portion of the government underestimates the intelligence of our society and the women activists. This is where its vulnerability lies.

The appointment of women to the 10th cabinet is as diversionary as is the appointment of Mashaie to the post of First Deputy to the head of the government. Its aim is to engage the people in secondary political games and distract them from the principle catastrophe that is unfolding, we women have not forgotten how the head of the centre for women’s family affair declared the foundation of a women’s ministry to be unnecessary. Even in the tumultuous conditions after the elections and the following crises (Etemad Newspaper August 9th, page 10). Hence women activists will fall for the mendacious games, for the society and the women the first priority is the success of our struggle for democracy with the guarantees of women’s independence in continuing with our demands.

The government that has aimed to destroy our society with its policies and to disgrace women and bring in to submission, before and after election with specific attacks on protection of family and mobilisation of moral police to mercilessly attack and suppress women’s demands and the cry for democracy, cannot claim to be beneficial for our society and women.

Hence the main objection of women activists is the fact that this government’s illegitimacy with all of its components cannot provide legitimacy by placing a few woman ministers, this is an insult to all of our intelligence. Having women ministers does not mean or guarantee a better position for women in our society.

Source in Persian :http://femschool.ws/spip.php?article3115

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