Women and Political Leadership in an Authoritarian Context: A Case Study of the Sixth Parliament in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Valentine M. Moghadam, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo
2016 Politics & Gender  
When Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, presented his proposed Cabinet to the Majles (parliament) in August 2013, one issue brought up in social media was the strange silence of the women members throughout the intensive four-day sessions to assess the ministerial nominees' programs before the vote of confidence. None of the nine women parliamentary members (MPs) used the podium to object that the president had not nominated any woman as minister. Only on social media and Persian language
more » ... evision was there criticism for the absence of women ministers. Eventually, Rouhani promised to include a woman in his Cabinet and to promote women in middle managerial positions. Not only was this tokenism evidence of gender-blindness, but it also evinced historical amnesia, as it overlooked the intense campaigning for women's greater participation and rights on the part of the 13 women members of Iran's Sixth Majles during the reform era coinciding with President Mohammad Khatami's two terms (1997–2005). That parliament is notable for its commitment to political and cultural reform and for the caucus that agitated for women's greater presence. Among its accomplishments were passage of the UN's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); raising the minimum age of marriage for girls from puberty to 13; and removing the ban on single young women traveling abroad on state scholarships.
doi:10.1017/s1743923x15000598 fatcat:vmscflzeknefrguuenx3yigubi