Women Candidates Shut Out of Iran's Presidential Race

Council chucks out applications from all 42 female hopefuls
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2009 1:49 AM CDT
Female staff at the Iranian elections headquarters wait to register candidates for the presidential elections at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Iran's vetting board has once again rejected every female candidate from the nation's upcoming presidential election, Time reports. Women made up almost a tenth of the 475 hopefuls who signed on. The rejection is widely blamed on the Guardian Council's interpretation of a word in Iran's constitution which they have determined allows only "religious and political men" to run, though it can also be taken to mean "religious and political personalities."

Most women's rights activists doubt the all-male council will change its determination anytime soon, although they see signs for hope in politicians' increased efforts to woo the female vote.  "The fact that dozens of women have registered for the last several rounds of the presidential elections is a good sign," said one activist. "It has shown its impact already in the fact that the candidates talk about giving Cabinet positions to women."