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 covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs