One day after Iran's Supreme Leader denounced gender equality as a Western cliche, Iranian President Hassan Rohani stressed the need for gender equality in all strata of the country, adding "the fear of women's presence and their excellence" should not be attributed to Islam and religion.
In a speech on April 20, Hassan Rohani said Iranian women have struggled for their rights for centuries during various social movements in Iranian history including the 1979 Revolution.
"Those who fear the presence and excellence of women and have such beliefs should not attribute these ideas to Islam, the religion or the Quran," Rohani said.
In an echo of Ayatollah Khamenei's concern that working outside the house can distract women from paying attention to their families, Rohani said: "A father that enters society does not forget his paternal responsibilities, nor does a mother give up her maternal responsibilities once she enters society."
He added that women's personal safety should not be restricted to the boundaries of the house, adding that women feel safe in society, on the streets and wherever they go.
The Iranian president stressed the need for "equal opportunities, equal immunity and equal social rights" and added: "I confess that there are still plenty of shortcomings in women's rights and gender issues in the country."
Hassan Rohani's speech marked Iranian Women's Day, which is celebrated on the birthday of Fatemeh, the daughter of Muslim Prophet Mohammad.
Iranian women do not have equal rights with men in terms of inheritance, divorce, child custody, education, employment and travel.
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