Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Women crucial for change in upcoming Iranian elections

The votes of women could be crucial in defeating hard-line supporters of President Ahmadinejad in the next election, BBC News asserted on Wednesday.

Many claim that the current government has drastically increased the level of institutionalized discrimination against women. In response, reformists are gearing their policies and campaigns to attract women voters.

“They have vowed to change family laws, Islamic punishment laws and labor laws to ensure more equal treatment of women,” said Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, an outspoken former MP.

According to the article, women hold considerable sway in deciding the results of elections. “Iranian women played a huge role in bringing to power the reformist former President, Mohammad Khatami, for two consecutive terms,” the article says. “There are more than 46 million eligible voters in Iran, of which at least half are women.”

Numbers of women activists, bloggers and journalists have increased over recent years, running high profile campaigns to abolish the practice of stoning and to change discriminatory law. Many of them have been arrested, but the government has not been successful in crushing the protests.

However, there are still considerable barriers in place. Thousands of candidates have been barred from running in upcoming elections, and the factional nature of Iranian politics threatens to divide and confuse voters.

Yet Haghighatjoo claims that progress is being made. “The women’s movement in Iran is gaining momentum and these elections may be the first step towards having Ahmadinejad pushed out,” she said.

For the full article, click here.


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