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Iranian women demand inclusion in Rouhani's Cabinet

Despite having appointed three female vice presidents, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani remains under pressure from women's rights activists to appoint more women to his Cabinet.
Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Masoumeh Ebtekar delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015.                  REUTERS/Stephane Mahe - RTX1WKDZ

The resignations of three Cabinet ministers in October had raised hope among many women’s rights activists in Iran that President Hassan Rouhani would nominate at least one woman to one of the vacant positions. While Rouhani pledged to incorporate more women into his government during his 2013 presidential campaign, he has yet to fulfill this promise.

Upon taking office, Rouhani named three women as vice presidents and also tried to place more women as senior state officials. After the recent Cabinet reshuffle, he named Zahra Ahmadipour as a new vice president as well as head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. Reports suggest that the president is also considering appointing Zahra Shojaei as the head of Iran’s National Library and Archives Organization. If finalized, these two women will replace their male colleagues Masoud Soltanifar and Reza Salehi Amiri, who have now become minister of sports and youth affairs as well as minister of culture and Islamic guidance, respectively, after winning votes of confidence from parliament.

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