Iran: The future is...female?
A former female Iranian minister has reportedly announced her bid for the upcoming presidential election, according to Al-Monitor. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, who served from 2009 to 2012 until differences with former prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad eventually led to her ousting (we’ve heard he’s become a lot friendlier in the past few days). She is the only female minister to have served since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Were Dastjerdi to succeed, she would be the first female Iranian president. This would be a huge deal for the Middle East, as the region has never had an official female ruler in modern times (though, neither has the United States, so take that factoid with a grain of salt).
However, whether or not the former minister of health would be approved to rule in the Islamic republic boils down to semantics, (literally, the translation of an Arabic word to mean 'men' or 'personalities', per Al-Monitor). Whether or not the Guardian Council, the body who approves presidential candidates, will break with precedent and start a new era in Iranian politics is up in the air.
However, a brief look at Dastjerdi leads to some paradoxical findings, as sometimes it would appear that she would be against her own presidency. While in the presidential cabinet, she voted against Iran’s joining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women, according to an editorial in The Guardian written by Massoumeh Torfeh, an Iranian woman. However, upon being elected to the presidential cabinet by former president Ahmadinejad, she was quoted as having said that the event was an, ‘important step for women’, according to Gulf Digital News.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of her presidential bid, if anything, and what a conservative female candidate sticking to more traditional policies could do to advance women’s rights in Iran.