Al-Monitor- Iran may see its first female presidential candidate in the May 19 elections. After a period of silence, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the Islamic Republic’s first and only female minister, has in recent days and weeks made headlines once again.
Dastjerdi headed the Ministry of Health and Medical Education between 2009 and 2012 after being one of three women proposed as ministers by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his second term (2009-13). The other two nominees were Susan Keshavarz for the post of education minister and Fatemeh Ajorlu for welfare and social security minister. Of the three, only Dastjerdi succeeded in securing a vote of confidence from Iran’s parliament and was confirmed on Sept. 3, 2009.
Although Dastjerdi is the Islamic Republic’s first female minister, she is not the first Iranian woman to hold such office. Farrokhroo Parsa and Mahnaz Afkhami served as education minister and minister of women’s affairs, respectively, under former ruler Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1941-1979).
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