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Tehran's Andisheh Park: What is important to Iranian men and women

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Note: This piece was written before the recent election

Last week a young friend of my brother’s arranged that I go and talk to his mates at the park near my mum’s house. Park Andisheh is located in the middle of Old Shemiran road (called Shariatie these days). It is also right in front of the sport club which I and my sisters used to go to for swimming when we were at school.


There I spoke with several young men, and I was pretty impressed with readings they had done and the sense of attentiveness and awareness they exerted towards serious social issues. They were as concerned about society and what is going on as they were concerned about what is happening to them personally, which I found rather refreshing.



The average age of the young men I spoke with was about 25-26 years old. All except one were university educated, and this is what they generally told me:

·        They are fed up or worse, but they are not passive; almost all of them will vote in the forthcoming election, even if they have to choose the best of the worst. Some of them were unhappy with President Khatami, and stated that although he made many things possible but he also clogged up many things from happening

·        They were very definitely against another revolution and for a step by step progress towards better society and reform.

·        One of our major problems in society is lack of law and order, lack of clarity and transparency; mismanagement and bad management are the worst problems that prohibit our progress.

·        The government must be an example of clarity and transparency in their dealing and stop favoritism.

·        They generally agreed that we, as a nation, must stop feeling sorry for ourselves and the role of being a victim. We must take hold of our lives, and it is up to us to make our future; it is up to the people. We learn to
think, choose and stand up to the consequences.

·        Jobs, especially important jobs, must be given to those who can do it well, for the benefit of all and the country.

·        Many girls who come to university are sincere and hard working, but many girls who just come to meet boys and find a place to sort of dress up. But they were all for LOVE and think it is good and important, but want for a lifetime relationship (marriage) a lady as a partner who is a friend. All expect one said that they would marry a girl disregarding her virginity.

Then I asked them about the most important possible things that they could wish for:

·        Freedom in general and freedom of speech in particular.

·        Economical Reforms in order to establish, security; financial, work and social choices along with more justice and accountability.

·        Stoppage of opportunism and favoritism, and despotisms. Iran is in process of social modernization but needs a serious renaissance in many aspects of life and social activities, specially in management.

·        Establishment of political parties, more effective civil society and more realistic parliamentary mode of governance.

·        Improvement in living standards for all and at all levels.

·        Luck of finding the right girl for permanent relationship.

·        International openness and relation with other countries including USA!


Later that week I was attending a gathering of women active in civil society and there I learned Markaz Mosharekate Zannan had conducted a national survey and these are their findings:

These are women’s demand and requirements of women in

  • Superior Employment Opportunities
  • Sense of social and personal security
  • Improvement of recreational facilities
  • Enhancement of livelihood
  • Improved and better view of women and their abilities
  • Increased Educational Accessibility
  • Correction and change of laws biased against women
  • Improved awareness and information to women
  • Facilitating marriage
  • Strengthening and better Support for women groups


Women's main problem areas in Iran the survey found were:

  • Unemployment
  • Lack of freedom and well being
  • Lack of social and recreational activities
  • Economical problems
  • Marriage
  • Education & training programs


... Payvand News - 6/20/05 ... --

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