Iran will soon be electing its eighth president. The list of selected candidates is out and it rules out any possibility of increasing women’s participation in the political sphere of the country.

As many as 137 women had reportedly registered to run for the Iranian Presidential elections. Never had so many women registered for Iranian elections earlier. But none among them made it to the final list.

The Guardian Council, which is also the most powerful political body, takes all major decisions revolving around elections. It is the upper house of the Iranian Parliament and has 12 members — all of whom are men. Women have been banned from standing as candidates for the Council. As a reformatory measure taken this year, the council announced that it would permit women candidates to run for president.

Iranian women have been nurturing the dream of becoming the President of Iran since 1997 but are disqualified every time. The Iranian constitution mentions that the candidacy is open to “Rijal-e-Siasi”, which roughly translates to “Open only to men”. Activists, however, are trying to get the term removed altogether.

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“For us, it’s clear that this word definitely means ‘men’. And the fact is that in the past 38 years, since the Islamic Revolution, every woman who has put herself forward as a candidate for the office of president has been rejected. We want to change that. We – by which I mean the whole spectrum of women’s rights activists – want this word to be changed,” Iranian women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh said in an interview to German news website Deutsche Welle.

According to the report, women are never given a reason behind their rejection. Azam Taleghani, who became the first Iranian woman to announce her candidacy for President, has been disqualified all the three times she had applied.

In the 2013 presidential elections, the Guardian Council categorically barred women from running for President, saying women are “intellectually incompetent to stand”.

Other parts of the world are, however, trying their best to bring in more and more women in the political sphere of the country. For instance, half of the ministers in French candidate Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet are women. His objective of making his cabinet gender-balanced is in line with today’s need to get more women involved in national and international politics.

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Charvi Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV