May 27, 2021
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Iranian women emerged as a force of change in 1997 after they voted overwhelmingly for Mohammad Khatami, bringing to power a reformist cleric. Although candidates and political parties have issued plans to improve their status to win their votes, women have seen little improvement in their rights at home and in society. Many see the country’s civil code and constitution, which were written based on Islamic Law after the revolution, as the source of discrimination. 

Nevertheless, women’s role in the presidential elections on June 18 remains crucial. Will they vote and who will they vote for? What are their concerns? Or, will they stay away from the polls in a sign of protest to create a legitimacy crisis for the regime? 


Roya Boroumand 
Executive director, The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center 

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo
CEO and co-founder, Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy; Iranian scholar; women's rights advocate 

Susan Tahmassebi
Director, FEMENA; women’s rights activist 

Nazila Fathi, moderator
Non-resident scholar, MEI 

Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images