A Study on Iranian Women’s Participation as Governors, Mayors and Members of City Councils

A Study on Iranian Women’s Participation as Governors, Mayors and Members of City Councils

Download English Version

Italiano

Introduction

The Iranian regime ranks 137th on the international level among 145 countries in terms of gender equality and political participation, and 141st in terms of economic participation.

The state-run ISNA news agency cited an official at the presidential directorate on Women and Family Affairs in December 2015 and published the following table.

Falahati acknowledged that compared to the countries in the region such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, Iran ranks lower, but from an economic and political perspective it ranks even lower than Chad.

He added: In the UAE, women’s participation in the parliament is 18 per cent while their participation on the ministerial level is 17 per cent. In Saudi Arabia, women’s parliamentary participation is 20 per cent and in Pakistan is 21 per cent.

In this report, we will look at another aspect of women’s political participation, namely in the administration of cities and provinces.

Statistics reflect the simple truth

In the administratoin of Iranian cities and provinces, women hold only 13 out of 2653 positions as provincial governors, governors, district governors, and mayors. The statistics are as follows:

  • The number of female provincial governors (ostandar): Zero from 31

(The state-run Raja News website – March 6, 2014)

  • The number of female governors (farmandar): 4 out of 440 governors (about 0.9%)

(The state-run Ham Ava website – April 19, 2015)

  • The number of female mayors: 2 mayors

The two female mayors out of a total number of 1148 mayors run small towns of Louleman in the Province of Gilan and Kalat in the Province of Sistan-o Baluchistan, which are not even registered in the list of cities.

(The state-run Mehr news agency – December 15, 2013)

  • The number of female district governors (bakhshdar): seven out of 1034

Two of these seven women barely passed the mullahs’ discrimination.

(The state-run Ham Ava website – April 19, 2015)

Last year, the provincial governor of Khuzistan, Abdol-Hassan Moghtadaii announced eight women as district governors but shortly afterwards “following complaints made by the clergy” they were suspended and eventually only two of those women got the posts.

(The state-run Tabnak website – December 17, 2015)

Women’s participation in the city councils

There is nothing to boast about women’s participation in the city councils, either.

The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran has studied and compiled the data available on women’s participation in 65 city councils across the country, including all provincial capitals. This study can be summarized as the following:

In a total of 65 cities, 93 women are members of the city councils as opposed to 631 male members. That is a meager 12.02% participation for women in the city councils.

In 16 of the 65 cities studied, there are no women in the city councils. These include Sari, Birjand, Gha’emshahr, Shoushtar, Marvdasht, Meshkinshahr, Maybod, Jahrom, Damghan, Roudsar, Lahijan, Zarand, and Sabzevar.

There are only one female member in the city councils of 21 cities including Isfahan, Rasht, Sanandaj, Shiraz, Mashhad, Hamedan, Arak, Ardebil, Ilam, Khorramabad, Saqqez, Kashmar, Malayer, Mahabad, and Miyaneh.

There are only three women in the 31-member City Council of Tehran.

The 21 members of the City Council of Tabriz also include only three women, two of whom (Elmira Khamachi and Akram Hazrati) have spent some time behind bars due to their opposition to the plans of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Elmira Khamachi (pictured on the right) was incarcerated three months in solitary confinement under torture in an IRGC Prison. She was ultimately released in mid-June 2016 on a bail bond and subsequently returned to the council.

Ms. Khamachi’s refusal to wear the head-to-toe black veil in meeting with Mullah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari, the Friday prayer leader of Tabriz, was followed by numerous warnings to her from the IRGC Intelligence Department at the time. Elmira Khamachi had also opposed relegation of the Pasdaran Express Way to the Khatam-ol Anbia Garrison and the IRGC’s economic plans along with five other members of the city council.

Conclusion

Clearly, the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran has enchained the society with its misogyny. As such, it cannot maneuver on the issue of equality of women and their active participation in political leadership roles.

Not only women do not have any significant role in the administration of cities and towns, but they are subject to sex-segregtion, exclusion from the job market and expulsion from work even in the simplest jobs in these organs.

In July 2014, Tehran’s municipality issued a directive according to which women were eliminated from many municipality posts. The directive stressed that all senior and mid-level managers must employ male staff as chief of office, secretary, telephone operators, typists, etc. Some authorities officially branded the measure as sex-segregation, but at the same time, it was approved by the majority of political and religious officials. The majority of Friday prayer leaders called on all municipalities to follow the policies of Tehran’s municipality as an example.

Obviously, the Iranian regime’s fundamental policy is to exclude women from society and drive them into their homes and even the currently small participation of women has been imposed on the regime.

In September, Ali Khamenei, the mullahs’ supreme leader declared the general state policies on “family” as part of the country’s Constitution. In articles 12 and 16, the role of women has been described as the following:

  1. Supporting women’s honorable role of motherhood and housekeeping
  2. Creating the necessary mechanisms to comprehensively improve families’ health, particularly women’s healthy reproduction and increased fertility rate.

Noting Khamenei’s decree on women’s increased fertility rate and population expansion in June 2016, Kobra Khaz-Ali, head of Women’s Social and Cultural Council, announced: “Since girls mature at age 9, the educational curriculum must be condensed so that youngsters could obtain their high school diploma at 15 and their bachelor’s degree at the age of 18.” (The state-run ANA news agency – June 19, 2016)

Of course, the clerical regime’s laws have already created obstacles for women in employment, and other political and social activities. The Islamic Republic’s Constitution has made it impossible for women to become a president or a judge.

Article 1105 of the Civil Code indicates that inherently, man is head of the family and can even prevent his wife from leaving home.

Article 1117 of the Civil Code gives men the right to prevent employment of their wives.

Furthermore, the clerical regime’s Labor Law in its preamble considers a woman’s role in the family as her main occupation. In the first item, it insists on the value of homemaking for women.

Appendix:

Table of Women’s Participation in Iran’s City Councils (compiled from the official websites of various municipalities of Iranian cities by the NCRI Women’s Committee)

 

Women’s Participation in Iran’s City Councils

Row City total members women members percent
1 Abadan 13 4 30/76%
2 Ahwaz 21 4 19/00%
3 Aligoodarz 9 2 22/20%
4 Amol 12 3 25/00%
5 Arak 15 1 6/60%
6 Ardebil 10 1 10/00%
7 Babol 13 2 15/38%
8 Babolsar 9 2 22/20%
9 Bandar Abbas 13 3 23/00%
10 Bandar Anzali 11 1 18/18%
11 Bandar Boushehr 11 4 36/00%
12 birjand 13 0 0/00%
13 Bojnourd 13 3 23/00%
14 Boumehen 9 1 11/10%
15 Chalous 9 2 22/20%
16 Chardangeh 7 1 14/28%
17 Damghan 9 0 0/00%
18 Ghaemshahr 13 0 0/00%
19 Ghazvin 13 3 23/00%
20 Ghom 21 2 10/00%
21 Gorgan 13 1 7/70%
22 Hamedan 15 1 6/60%
23 Ilam 11 1 9/00%
24 Isfahan 20 1 5/00%
25 Jahrom 11 0 0/00%
26 Karaj 17 3 17/64%
27 Kashmar 9 1 11/10%
28 Kazeroun 9 2 22/20%
29 Kerman 18 6 33/33%
30 Kermanshah 15 5 33/30%
31 Khansar 7 1 14/28%
32 Khorramabad 13 1 7/70%
33 Lahijan 9 0 0/00%
34 Lar 9 0 0/00%
35 Mahabad 11 1 9/00%
36 Malayer 11 1 9/00%
37 Malayerd 13 6 23/00%
38 Marvdasht 11 0 0/00%
39 Mashhad 20 1 5/00%
40 Mehdishahr 5 0 0/00%
41 Meibod 9 0 0/00%
42 Meshkinshahr 9 0 0/00%
43 Mianeh 9 1 11/10%
44 Minoudasht 7 1 14/28%
45 Mobarakeh 9 2 22/20%
46 Oroumieh 15 2 13/30%
47 Rasht 15 1 6/60%
48 Roudsar 5 0 0/00%
49 Sabzevar 6 0 0/00%
50 Saghez 11 1 9/00%
51 Sanandaj 5 1 20/00%
52 Sari 13 0 0/00%
53 Semnan 11 2 18/18%
54 Shahr e Kord 10 2 20/00%
55 Shiraz 21 1 4/76%
56 Shoushtar 11 0 0/00%
57 Tabriz 21 3 14/00%
58 Tehran 31 3 6/67%
59 Yasouj 11 1 9/00%
60 Yazd 6 2 0/00%
61 Zabol 11 2 18/18%
62 Zahedan 15 2 13/30%
63 Zanjan 13 3 23/00%
64 Zarand 6 0 0/00%
  Total 719 93 12/02%