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Women's representation in Iran improving: MP Elaheh Koulaie

Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution women's representation in higher learning and the job market has improved vis-a-vis their Western stereotypes, says Elaheh Koulaie, a member of the Iranian Parliament, on Tuesday, IRNA reported from New Delhi, India.

According to an IRNA reporter, Koulaie, in a paper entitled "Women's Political Participation in Post-Revolutionary Iran" presented at the recently concluded three-day seminar entitled "Iran: Twenty Five years after the Revolution," said participation of women in the political arena has increased since after the revolution just as their demands and expectations have also increased.

She said the Islamic Revolution paved the way for "Iranian style democracy." The most visible outcome of this revolution was the emergence of a "public sphere" in which different notions of Islam, modernity and citizenship have been openly debated.

Koulaie, who is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Teheran, said that the Islamic Revolution brought a massive revolt--true to ancient models--of society against the state. No social class resisted the revolution and no organized political force defended the regime, she said, adding that this revolution was a revolt against arbitrary rule.

She said among the ideas that have emerged in the past one century of experience in democratization in this country was the notion that women actively participating in the public arena would bring about the traditional cycle of arbitrary rule-chaos-arbitrary rule.

She said women played very important roles in events leading to the Islamic Revolution and its achievements. They played those roles in the mass movements. They made a significant political contribution to events that led to the toppling of the monarch, she said.

It was very natural for Iranian women to seek ways to materialize the large political potential which they possessed and then to take pride in their services and contribution to the success of the revolution, Iraqi-imposed war and other successes, she added.

She said the increase of women's participation at the elite level will bring about two considerable results in Iran. First, an increase in the degree of women's participation at the elite level will encourage more women to enter higher echelons of management and responsiblility. Women participation in higher ranks of decision-making has become a global aspiration, she added.

She said the allocation of 20 to 30 percent of managerial posts, parliament seats and, at the local level, municipal and rural council seats to women will have a positive effect on the overall situation. The same goes true if political parties and groups adopt quotas for women in managerial bodies of decision-making organs at various levels of government, she said.

The mass media and educational system and many state and privately sponsored programs can play a huge role in improving the women's situation in the country and can help remove negative stereotypes regarding women in managerial positions, she said.

She concluded by saying that civil society, development and social justice would never find their true meaning in society without women's participation and involvement.

... Payvand News - 3/9/04 ... --

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