Naj gave us an excellent review of the “exciting” new female ministers that are to be introduced to the new cabinet.
I am personally ambivalent, leaning more towards terrified than excited. Especially since the resume of these dear sisters has ten volumes under “SUCKING UP TO SHIT” and less than one page regarding the fields in which they’re ACTUALLY supposed to be specialized. This signals that women can indeed climb up the political ladder in the Iranian political sphere IF only they submit to the rules the hardline males have already drawn. Maybe that’s an argument you could make for much of world politics, but in Iran, the lines are much more violent and repressive. These women succeed IF they joint the basij for a few decades and harass some fellow students and pretty classmates.
You see, the extremist landscape from which Ahmadinejad sucks support is against female involvement of any kind in high office. So these ladies must have a resume that tries to comfort their concerns as much as possible. A resume that can indeed harm the women’s rights movement in Iran leagues more than it can help.
At the same time, as I’ve said before, Ahmadinejad does what he wants to do, and I wish the reformists had a fraction of that in them.
But, I warn you, don’t get too excited. Here’s a translation from FardaNews:
A Minister in Support of Gender Separation
For the first time, in 2006, a plan to separate Iranian hospitals by gender [yes, this actually means having all-male hospitals for men and all-female hospitals for women] which Marzieh Dastjerdi had introduced while she was in parliament, [she is Ahmadinejad’s candidate for Minister of Health] was passed by government. After Dastjerdi introduced this bill, the first hospital, Mahdieh Hospital that employed a full female staff began work the following year in 2007.
Zahra Tayeb Zadeh, the president’s adviser on women’s issues and the head of the Center for Family and Women said in the opening ceremony of the hospital: “According to our values and our beliefs in these types of occupations [like gynecology], women should be present full force, and in these circumstances if there is bias towards women, that’s a good thing.”
[Now, an all-female hospital, especially given the cultural sensitivities that do exist, in and of itself isn’t a bad idea to me. It’s their attempt to take this further than just one or two hospitals, its their worldview that is terrifying. It’s that this same government sent that despicable “Family Protection Bill” to parliament which did little to protect the family and did everything to glorify the male sexual organs. It reinforced existing unequal divorce laws and made it more complicated and challenging for women to file for divorce. It removed the requirement to register “temporary marriages,” and suggested taxation for dowries (Mehr), which have traditionally provided a fragile financial safety net for women.]
Tayeb Zadeh continued: “The people and the government must not pay any attention to the slogans of the Western World that ask for equal rights for both genders in education, managerial roles and employment. These issues must be revised according to our beliefs and values, and our traditional cultural heritage.”
Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, minister of health in the ninth cabinet also stressed that it is the patient’s right to ask for treatment by doctors of the same gender and said: “the plan for gender conformity is underway in the country’s hospitals and our ministry plans to expand this plan.”
Hossein Ali Shahriyari, the deputy for the public health committee in parliament praised Ahmaidnejad’s pick for health minister [Dastjerdi] and commented on the separation of hospitals: “Of course it is necessary that we have enough male and female specialists so tha a woman does not danger her health for not wanting to see a male doctor. The plan to separate hospitals is a good idea for those areas where enough female specialists exist, but it can’t be carried out everywhere.”
Dr. Iraj Khosroniya, the president of the Council of Iranian Medical Specialists said regarding this plan: “the plan to separate hospitals belongs to the old day when she [Dastjerdi] was in parliament, and now that she will be in charge of serious day-to-day policy matters, I doubt it will come up again.”
He continued: “the shortage of female specialists in many cities means that such a plan is not even realistic.”