Home > Uncategorized > Ahmadinejad Calls for Greater Role for Women

Ahmadinejad Calls for Greater Role for Women

So here’s an unexpected turn of events for women’s rights in the Islamic world: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recommended that the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the “United Nations of Muslim countries”, appoint an educated woman from an Islamic country as deputy secretary general.

Ahmadinejad proposed the appointment in a letter to OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu according the president’s official Web site.

“Islam attaches great importance to the faithful women and their role in society. Given the OIC’s decision to increase the number of women in management, as well as to improve their status in the Islamic society, I propose to appoint an educated woman from the Islamic countries as your deputy,” the letter says.

“This step will move the OIC’s support to the advancement of women,” the letter continued.

While I wholeheartedly support and endorse a decision to increase the number and role of women in leadership at the OIC and to raise the status of women in the Islamic world, I must admit that I am a bit shocked that such a suggestion would come from a leader like Ahmadinejad, whose record on women’s rights and human rights in Iran is anything but stellar.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference plays a unique role in the international community. As the second largest inter-governmental organization in the world, the OIC is the voice of the Islamic world. An increase in the role of women in the organization – especially at the level of deputy secretary general – would be a clear message to the international community about the role of women in Islam in and in society.

Does this recommendation mean that there is a shift taking place in Ahmadinejad’s worldview, or is this a political calculations he is making to ease relations with the West?

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