Iran’s vice-president for women and family affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, maintains that now more than ever, the ground is prepared for the presence of women ministers in the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s new cabinet, which is supposed be formed by mid-August.
“We are optimistic about that. Given the characteristics of Rouhani’s first term and in view of the different conditions in which the next government is going to begin its term in office [compared to the previous one], now the grounds are a lot more prepared [than four years ago] for female ministers to be appointed to the cabinet,” she noted.
Nevertheless, Molaverdi said, this is the Iranian Parliament which has the final say on the issue, adding, “We predict that President Rouhani would propose two to three woman ministers to the Parliament for his cabinet. We will do our best to this end.”
Having a number of female ministers in the cabinet has been among the main demands of the women who voted for Rouhani in May 19 presidential election.
In Rouhani’s first term in office (2013-17), two women were among the Iranian president’s vice-presidents: Masoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of the Environment, and Zahra Ahmadi-Pour, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.
In addition, the country’s first-ever Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, was appointed in in Rouhani’s government. She was later dispatched to Malaysia as Iran’s first-ever woman ambassador.
Nevertheless, the expectations of Iran’s women community, comprising more than 50 percent of the Iranian university students, are greater this time while only a couple of months are left before Rouhani assumes office for the second time.
Iranian women played a very significant role in May to extend the tenure of the Rouhani’s moderate government for another four-year time-span.