Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced yesterday that he will appoint at least three women to his cabinet. According to Agence France Presse, Fatemeh Ajorlou will be appointed as social welfare minister, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi as health minister, and a third currently unidentified woman will be appointed to a third minister position. If approved, these appointees will be the first women cabinet ministers since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Both Ajorlou and Dastjerdi are reportedly hardline conservatives, supporting enforcement of Islamic dress codes for women and proposing gender segregated healthcare, respectively, according to the BBC.
Ahmadinejad was sworn in to his second term in office August 5, following widespread massive protests both in Iran and internationally after June’s disputed presidential election. Women played a major role in the public uprising that followed the election and were particularly visible during the election campaigns.
There was strong support among women for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi whose wife, Zahra Rahnavard, played an especially visible role in her husband’s campaign and continued to speak out during post-election protests. There is speculation that Ahmadinejad’s move to appoint women to the cabinet is a means of courting women’s support after the post-election turmoil, reported the Associated Press.