the vice presidency for Women & Family Affairs Isalmic Republic Of Iran

The Global Forum of Women Political Leaders

Wednesday 13 December 2017 - 15:45

Speech of Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President on Women and Family Affairs to Women Political Leaders Global Forum

 Rekjavik, November 29,  2017


In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful


I wish to thank our gracious host, the Government of Iceland, for convening this forum. It is important that we engage in a constructive dialogue which will enable us to broaden our approach to viewing and analyzing world affairs. The current state of global mismanagement is not sustainable and is rooted in our materialistic and worldly approach in leading societies to destroy their natural assets, accumulate wealth at the expense of social justice, stockpile weapons of mass destruction and even nuclear potency while promoting war in the name of security. All this while reinforcing systematic discrimination and injustices which fuel radical ideology and extremism.


The holistic approach of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) has set a common platform for the global community for synergies to be shaped and flourish, even as diverse national cultures and identities are respected. This issue of national identity, dignity and sovereign rights of every nation is a core theme in the SDGs. 


Another core issue for sustainability is the concept of security and peace as an undisputed prerequisite for each and every SDG. Extremism and terror have prevented hundreds of millions of people from access to basic services. For these people sustainable development goals have been devalued to the level of mere attractive words on paper.


To combat terror and extremism, we need to promote a just and balanced approach to world affairs. Talking of peace is but empty rhetoric when millions of citizens are being killed in Myanmar, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, and in parts of Africa, as we sit here right now, while legal and preventive instruments have proven to be of weak deterrent value. Speaking of abrogation of human rights for some while turning a deaf ear to the cries of millions of oppressed in camps or those being raped in villages, terrorized in cities or barred from the most basic forms of humanitarian aid. Extravagance and a life of luxury is somehow an obscenity beneath our dignity, when our fellow human beings, our citizens and our children are suffering at the hands of multiple aggressors. 

Hopes for a better future are shattered when conflicts destroy nature, water resources, soil is contaminated and natural assets are ruined. 

Conservation of our natural assets and prevention of sea, air, soil and water pollution are essential for sustainable development and all nations need to collaborate in this cause.

Women have an important role to play as mothers, caregivers of humanity and the essential conduits of human of life. They are one of the pillars of sustainable development. The conditions of women in Iran have steadily improved during the past four decades. Women have changed stereotypes by taking advantage of favorable conditions for advancing in education and culture. The number of women in higher education has risen to 55% percent of total enrollment, a 14 fold increase.

Three Vice Presidents and several Deputy Ministers are women. President Hassan Rouhani has issued a decree according to which 30% of decision making posts must be allocated to women by 2020. Twenty five percent of university professors are currently women. Seventeen women are MPs, while some 30 local governors and 2,167 women have been elected to head village councils and serve as mayors in Iran’s rural areas. Women focused NGOs have grown two fold due to the favorable legal and social conditions, amounting to 2,700 NGOs. 

The current government led by Dr. Rouhani has a specific program for the advancement of women and familial prosperity. This is an essential framework for sustainable development.

One major step in this regard has been the drafting of new legislation to address priority issues including those related to women, family and social welfare. The drafting of a bill insuring social security for women and prevention of violence against women is in the legislative pipeline and the government has served as a catalyst to bring all relevant sectors to draw up final versions of these measures for Parliament. In other relevant areas such as foster child care, identity questions and passport policies are also under consideration. 

In practical terms, the government is implementing nationwide educational and awareness raising schemes concerning pre-marriage and marriage life skills while providing counselling for families.

In addition to addressing social ills like narcotics addiction, and violence with the collaborative support of NGOs, a knowledge based approach is being implemented.

We look forward to a world led by ethical leaders who believe in the essence of life and the rights of the future generations. We need leaders who have a vision beyond the material and sensual aspects of life.

They must be possessed of a worldview that perceives of the eternal dimensions of human existence. We look forward to the assistance of media, corporate and political leaders who are ready to sacrifice the transient and selfish pleasures of consumption and profit for the sake of the long term benefit and enrichment of the downtrodden, for the betterment of all human life and the protection of our planet earth for all humanity.



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