Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in for the second term as the country’s president on August 5th. He has now named two women as vice-presidents, even though he has not included women in his proposed 18-member cabinet.

One of the women is Masoumeh Ebtekar. She is the vice-president for women and family affairs. She has previously served as the vice-president of Environment Protection Organisation, and has also been Iran’s first woman vice-president. Back in 1979, the Western media knew Ebtekar as Mary, the spokeswoman for the Iranian hostage takers during the 444-day standoff between the US embassy and Tehran.

Rouhani also appointed Dr Laaya Joneidi as vice-president for legal affairs. Joneidi is a law professor at the University of Tehran. She has completed her post doctorate in law at Harvard University. She reportedly has been a legal deputy to the minister of science since 2013.

Shahindokht Mowlaverdi will be the president’s assistant for civil rights. She was previously the vice-president for women and family affairs. She is an academic, feminist and jurist. The president is treading water with the all male- cabinet, she said. 

However, the fact that the president did not pick a woman as a minister to the cabinet has drawn criticism from women’s rights activists.

Rouhani was re-elected after a campaign that promised increased liberties for women. During his first term, Rouhani demonstrated that he wanted to increase women’s participation in government and the economy. He appointed the first female deputy minister to lead the petrochemicals sector. The state-run Iran Air also announced its first woman CEO.

Since 1979, only one woman has held a cabinet position in Iran’s government. Health Minister Marzieh Dastjerdi served from 2009-13 under Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran has 12 vice-presidents who run organisations linked to the presidency.

Also Read: Iranian TV Host Faces Backlash For Drinking Beer And Not Wearing Hijab

Picture Credit: Times of Israel