Increase in Women's Share from Governmental...
President Rouhani has promised that by the end of the Sixth Development Plan*, to allocate 30 percent share for Iranian women in managerial posts. This 30 percent promise has in fact been given towards the rights of those Iranian women whose governmental managerial share in the recent years has been under 10 percent.
These promises of course have gone further than common campaign and political promises, and it has been memoed by the President to all departments as a guideline and duty. Women’s share in the first one hundred days of the new government has been announced as 7 percent. This means out of every 2,712 managerial posts (deputy minister, minister’s advisor, director general and assistant director general) in 12 government ministries, women’s share has been 171 posts. The appointment of 4 women deputy ministers, one deputy president, and a number of top managerial seats, also acting oil minister and executive director of National Aeronautics Organization, are some of these appointments. Furthermore, currently in spite of the existing obstacles, women’s shares in some fields has even reached 20 percent. The presence of 2,167 women in managerial and village assistant posts in the Interior Ministry, is practically a record in this Ministry.
Although this level in comparison with past, is deemed a new and unique occurrence, but there is still a long way to go to reach the 30 percent promise of the President, and there is still low presence of women in general managerial positions. Therefore, if the government has a will in this regard, it must use all its capacity to pay attention to women’s rights and demands.
Some women activists believe that allocating a share in managerial posts to women is one of the successful practices for reducing the gender gap and elimination of discriminations and inequalities between men and women; and in a way it is a type of service for the universal development and advancement of the country. The Rouhani government too, as a defender of development has its views on women in this framework, and its policy setting and programmes will also be towards the implementation of this method. Therefore, the allocation of shares to women in governmental departments can be deemed as one of the components of this effective and successful method.
Women’s activist Azar Mansouri says: “30 percent share of women in national general management positions is a universal norm and is deemed as a basis for governments, which can through the implementation of positive discrimination, to eliminate some parts of this inequality. But this does not happen overnight, and other countries too, to fill this gap, use all the implementation of this method such as education, the mainstreaming of the subject of education and attention for mainstreaming of women’s equal rights (citizen’s rights and fundamental rights), because this discrimination is the result of many years."
There are still obstacles in front of the Government, such as a viewpoint that does not deem rights as equal. The politicisation of the subject of women and also other subjects such as women being barred from sports arenas or the right to continue education outside the country, all of which are deemed as the citizen’s rights of women, and the government has made some changes in policy settings and planning and has taken some steps, such as the creation of an equal share for recruitment tests or increase the employment rate of women at even 2 to 3 percent levels.
The Women and Family Affairs Deputy of the Presidency Maasoomeh Ebtekar says: “one of the most important tasks for the realisation of women’s citizen’s rights, is the ratification of the provision of safety to women legislation, which provides answers to parts of women’s demands, and the draft legislation is almost finalised. This draft will be presented to the Parliament following it going from the Judiciary to the Government; and its final meetings with the Judiciary have been held. Also the protection of children and juveniles draft legislation is in the working agenda. The nationality and passport law is also seriously being followed up. The Citizen’s Rights Charter is top of the 12th Governments domestic policy agenda, and the President has made it his duty to present an annual report of the advancements and solutions for the elimination of obstacles in the way of the realisation of citizen’s rights, and if necessary to update the Charter.”
In the end it is necessary to be reminded that the Rouhani Government has taken a huge step for the realisation of women’s citizen’s rights. But this will not be realised in next four years, unless a collective of departments that are under the Government collective also take part in mainstreaming and to endeavour to create equal opportunities.
* The economic, social and cultural developments programmes of the Islamic Republic of Iran are a collective of mid-term programmes which are designed for a five year period by the government of the time, and is ratified by the Islamic assembly (Iranian Parliament).