News / Middle East

Iran's Presidential Candidates Courting Female Vote

Iran's Presidential Candidates Courting Female Votei
X
June 07, 2013 10:17 AM
Iran is a country of more than 70 million people -- almost half of them women, some of whom play political roles but are barred from running for president. VOA's Jeff Seldin and Shepol Ebnabbasi take a closer look at what role, if any, women will play in deciding Iran's next president in this month's election.
Iran is a country of more than 70 million people - almost half of them women, some of whom play political roles but are barred from running for president.What role will women play in deciding Iran's next president in this month's election?

When Iranians go to the polls on June 14, they will get to select one of eight presidential candidates - all but one older than 50 and all men. Iran's Guardian Council ruled last month a woman cannot be president even though 30 women sought to be included in the race.

That worries Iranian women's rights activists, who say Iran's clerics, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were trying to send a message.

"They think that Iranian women - they should stay at home and it's better they make them more limited than this,” said long-time activist and lawyer Mehrangiz Kar.

But some of the candidates appear to be reaching out to women voters anyway.

When Mohammad Reza Aref, the 61-year-old university professor seen as the leading reformer in the race, registered to run, he did so with his wife.

It quickly drew comparisons to Turkey, where Islamist-leaning Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared in campaigns with his wife. Iran hardliners criticize the husband/wife appearances as "Western."

Still, some of the more conservative candidates have promoted joint appearances with their wives - something current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also did when he was a candidate.

Kar said it means little.

“Sometimes you can see some women beside their husband during elections. It seems something like a propaganda for the men and not for women,” she stated. 

But some analysts say the ability of women to influence the election outcome is not out of the question. They point to Mohammad Khatami’s election in 1997, when he appealed to women and minorities.

In the last presidential election, in 2009, the four final candidates spoke on women's issues.

Analyst Geneive Abdo with the Stimson Center said this election is much different.
“Unlike last time, there are no candidates that are inspiring people,” she noted.

Despite that, a hunger for inspiration, especially among women, seems to linger.

In recent weeks - this video showing former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during his last campaign - has gone viral on Iran's social media sites.  In it, a young woman criticizes the societal status of Iran's women. The video shows Rafsanjani with tears forming in his eyes.  

But voters cannot choose Rafsanjani this time. The Guardian Council barred his candidacy during its final cut.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 08, 2013 4:00 AM
you are always lying. because there a lot of well-educated people ow in Iran.
I love Iran.
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 09, 2013 9:38 AM
well educated in Iran are absolutely away from this isolated reactionary regime . You love your windfall wealth which you have earned illegally ! Not Iran !

by: Anonymous
June 08, 2013 1:51 AM
Surprised this section is able to comment :)... They are afraid someone might do something good for their country. I think a woman in charge of their country would be the best possible thing. Anyone other who is running the show now. They could be a peacefull thriving country with great relations worldwide, but chose a different path. Threatening peace, putting troops in Syria, and weapons, and more... They are on the wrong path and my Iranian friends say the people in Iran are fed up but have no choice...
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 09, 2013 9:43 AM
Yes , The people , the absolute majority , are desperately fed up with this situation but they have no other choice for the time being !

by: solmaz from: ca
June 07, 2013 9:11 AM
I could care less if a woman can or cant run! I don't think women can be good presidents. I want the economy and security fixed.
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 09, 2013 9:53 AM
Economy , security and sovereignty of Iran is in danger with these selected guys and their like minded .... a bunch of None Iranian , None Literate ..... who are not representing Iranians.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs