Iranian MPs Urge Khatami to Appoint Women to New Cabinet
Iranian MPs are urging President Mohammed Khatami to let women secure more powerful portfolios in his new cabinet after his landslide re-election this month, reported the official Iranian news agency (IRNA) on Wednesday.
In an open letter read out in the chamber, 163 signatories said "the time has come for women to contribute to high and medium-level managerial posts under the ageis of their meritocracy."
"We extend our gratitude to His Excellency for your rejection of the un-Islamic outlook of considering women as the second gender and clearing the way for women to have self-confidence and promote their capabilities over the past four years (under your tenure)," the letter said.
"Thus, we, MPs, request you to put up female ministers in your new cabinet and also urge planning for contribution of women in policy-making affairs," it said.
Women were instrumental in Khatami's landslide victory in 1997, and in his overwhelming re-election this year.
Traditionally sidelined from political power in a male-dominated society, Iranian women have been pushing more in recent years to assert themselves, making modest inroads in Parliament and the government -- both in the hands of reformers, according to IRNA.
But the conservative-led judiciary and presidency are still off-limits to women and there are no women judges. Conservatives say the job is not appropriate for women. Women make up about 60 percent of all university students, but they still account for only a small fraction of the workforce.
Press reports say that Iran's 11 female reformist MPs have prepared a list of three women to be tapped for the heads of ministries, when Khatami forms his new government in August.
Until now, no woman has been named to a ministry post in the Islamic republic, although Khatami had appointed a women vice president, Massumeh Ebtekar, in 1997, who was charged with the country's environment portfolio – Albawaba.com
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