Ex-minister: Iranian women ‘complimentary’ but not equal to men

Iran’s former Minister for Women’s Affairs Mahnaz Afkhami says Iranian women women are complimentary to men but not equal entities. (Photo courtesy:

Iranian women are barred from major areas of activity that require working alongside men because they are not considered equal, Iran’s former Minister for Women’s Affairs told Al Arabiya English on Sunday.

“In general, the whole philosophy is that women are complimentary to men but not equal entities,” said Mahnaz Afkhami, who is also president of the Women’s Learning Partnership.

On the sidelines of the Women Deliver 2013 conference in the Malaysian capital, she explained that a change of mindset in Iran is required.

“When you have that sort of philosophy, and you are proud of it and constantly advertising it, of course women are unable to show their real potential and help develop the country,” Afkhami said.

When asked about the recent claim by an Iranian cleric that women cannot run for the presidency because it is against Iranian law, Afkhami said the issue in the Islamic republic is much bigger than just presidential elections. 

Women “are barred from a lot of areas of activity. They are barred from majors in university that will inevitably require them to work in integrated surroundings. They are barred from being judges. They are barred from a large number of professions that necessitates them working with men,” Afkhami said.

Delegates and speakers at the conference disseminated their message of a globalized strategy to empower women.

However, Afkhami said that while there are universal rights that human beings aspire to, “you cannot take the context of one environment and impose it on another.”

Last Update: Monday, 27 May 2013 KSA 20:37 - GMT 17:37

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Ex-minister: Iranian women ‘complimentary’ but not equal to men
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