Sistan and Baluchestan province in south-eastern Iran has the highest number of women working as junior, middle and senior government executives and managers among the country’s 31 provinces.
Sistan and Baluchestan has the largest number of people deprived from education. According to education officials, the largest population of these deprived people are girls who are denied access to education due to early marriage and cultural issues.
However, a great number of women in this underprivileged province have managed to gain top government positions, which means a new attitude and a great step forward.
According to a decree by President Hassan Rouhani, the executive bodies of the country are obliged to allocate 30% of the managerial posts of the relevant bodies to women as part of the country’s Sixth Development Plan.
Sistan and Baluchestan was the province with the first female governor and deputy governor, who took the positions during Rouhani’s term.
Other women in the province are also working as deputy governor, director general, deputy director general, university president, director general’s advisor, governor’s advisor, mayor, etc.
Since the beginning of the Rouhani administration, i.e. from 2015 until now, 237 women have held senior managerial posts in various ranks, including governor, director general, adviser and mayor in this province.
According to Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, in President Rouhani’s second term, Sistan and Baluchestan with 20 senior and middle managers has the highest number of female managers among Iranian provinces.
As the government started to put more trust in women, the traditional and religious people of the province also changed their views and embraced the new approach to women in managerial positions.
Homeyra Rigi was the first Baloch woman to hold the post of governor in Qasr-e-qand, south of Sistan and Baluchestan since 2007. The successful experience of using a Sunni woman as the governor showed that women can play a greater role.
Rigi was later appointed the third female ambassador in Iran’s history and the first female Sunni ambassador.
Before that, Marzieh Afkham and Parvin Farshchi had been chosen as the first female Iranian ambassadors to Malaysia and Finland, respectively.
Despite some oppositions, Homeyra Rigi was finally appointed as Iran’s ambassador to Brunei upon the suggestion of the foreign minister and with the agreement of the president.