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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.