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Rouhani defers "sexist" civil service entry exam

Aug 02, 2016, 5:41 AM EDT
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani
(Source: GovernmentZA/flickr)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani postponed the annual civil service entry exam on Monday and ordered a review of all 3,000 jobs on offer amid concerns of bias against women. Iranian women are significantly under-represented in the workplace despite making huge progress in education after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. According to the Iranian National Statistics Organization, only about 12 percent of the country’s women were actively employed in 2013.

President Rouhani appointed a number of women to key positions after winning the parliamentary elections in May, writes Washington Daily Gazette. However, Rouhani’s efforts in championing the cause of women rights have garnered a lukewarm response from activists, who say he could have taken more steps to deal with the overall problem of female unemployment.

Critics say that the government’s decision to invest in job creation schemes in recent years further restricted the employment opportunities for women by pumping much of the money into the male-dominated sectors of the workforce.

Rouhani’s efforts aimed at ending a “systemic” inequality against women sometimes clash with Supreme Leader Ayotollah Khamenei’s “conservative establishment,” which advocates a more traditional and restricted role for women, notes the BBC