Iranian, Turkish women to cooperate in fight for women rights

Iranian, Turkish women to cooperate in fight for women rights

Rıfat Başaran – ANKARA
Iranian, Turkish women to cooperate in fight for women rights

Iranian women wait in line outside a polling station during the Iranian presidential election in Tehran, in this June 12, 2009 file photo. REUTERS Photo

An Iranian women’s group has proposed to work together with Turkish women in their fight for women’s rights, after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave a speech on female empowerment on Feb. 8 at a conference titled “Women, Moderation and Development” in Tehran. 

“How can a country talk about development and progress while ignoring women who are half of the population?” asked Rouhani at the conference. 

Upon Rouhani’s remarks, Iranian group the Association of Spouses of Foreign Ministry’s Diplomats contacted the Turkish Women’s Associations Federation (TKDF) and sent a delegation to hold talks last week. 

Meeting with TKDF head Canan Güllü and other heads of groups under the TKDF umbrella, the Iranian group came to Ankara with a series of proposals on possible cooperation. Vahide Rahimpour, the wife of the Iranian economy minister, was also present at the meeting.

“We are luckier than Iran because women in Turkey were given an opportunity to be individuals, thanks to Atatürk [Turkey’s founding father],” said Güllü. 

“Efforts should be made to legally protect women’s political rights in the event of governmental changes,” she added. 

“We trust Rouhani and we support him. We also believe better steps will be taken in Iran for the development of women’s rights. Rouhani’s speech is our most important roadmap,” said one member of the visiting Iranian group. 

Güllü also said Rouhani’s approach toward gender equality gave hope. 

“Under the Rouhani government, a woman who was working at the Iranian Foreign Ministry for 33 years was appointed to Malaysia as an ambassador. Such developments show that Iran is involved in a transformation attempt.  The increase in the number of girls going to school and women working in the private sector, as well as the eleven women deputies in the 220 member-Iranian parliament, also show us the signs of a transformation,” she added.