I’m not a cynic. Seriously, I’m not. I might have a sarcastic comeback to many a comment, as some of you well know, but I am definitely not a cynic.
However, I am a realist, which is why information like this doesn’t surprise me:
Hardline women won’t help Iran
I wish I could feel proud about the proposal for female cabinet members in Iran – but they will do nothing for equal rights
Written by: Massoumeh Torfeh and posted on Monday August 17th 2009 at 16.00 BST
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 protector of women’s chastity and modesty.
Her professional career has been in serving the Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia. She worked as a nurse in the Revolutionary Guards and later was influential in setting up the Basij Sisters militia, which has been involved in brutal attacks and arrests of women’s rights activists. More recently she advocated the controversial draft law for positive discrimination for men in attending universities. That had become necessary, according to Ajorlou, because girls had won 70% of university places, thereby causing an “imbalance” in society. More generally she believes that western societies have lost their morality because women have given priority to their jobs rather than their families.
Well then. Perhaps not *** quite *** what we would have wanted… But it’s still a step forward, you know – as long as we realize that the step isn’t as big as we would have wanted it to be.
Read the rest of the article here.