Symposium on "Women in Iran" in the Austrian Cultural Forum in Teheran
Teheran, 10 December 2008 - A high-ranking discussion and film event on the topic of "Women in Iran" took place on 9 December in the Austrian Cultural Forum in Teheran. This was a follow-up event of a successful intercultural symposium that took place in October this year at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.
In his welcoming speech, the Austrian Ambassador reminded that the equality of men and women was already emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago.
The panel was comprised of women, and included a labour market expert, a businesswoman from the agricultural sector, a journalist, an architect, and a writer. The unanimous tenor was that, although women still have to struggle against discrimination worldwide, Iran in particular has a much longer way to go before achieving an effective equality between the sexes. According to the participants, this is despite the fact that the conditions for better career opportunities for women do exist in Iran, considering that approximately two thirds of the students at Iranian universities are women.
Women, however, often still have to struggle with patriarchal structures. This starts, for instance, with regulations on working time and ends with the fact that many men find it hard to accept female superiors, who may even be the owners of the companies.
The participants also agreed that the issue of equality between sexes is a challenge not only for political institutions. Therefore, one should not only focus on presidential and other elections, but the creation of awareness should also be promoted in civil society, in business, and at universities.
Two short films on women in Iran were also shown during the event, which attracted great interest among representatives of the diplomatic corps and members of the business community.
Austrian Embassy Teheran