Healthy competition between men, women possible through equal opportunities: Rouhani

MNA – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that healthy competition between men and women in the society is possible only through giving them equal opportunities.

President described Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) as the best role model for women and society, stressing that it was necessary to correct everyone’s views on the status of women in society, adding, “It is not enough to just say that women and men are equal, but rather we must see it in practice, legislation, and enforcement.”

Parts of President Hassan Rouhani’s speech are as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

I congratulate the birthday of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS) and Women’s Day to all respected attendees, the people of Iran and all Muslims.

Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS) is the best role model of lifestyle. Although her life was not long, yet her famous remarks and presence and her sermon after the demise of her great father Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in the mosque of Medina and the children she raised, as well as her manner of managing the house and her marriage, are the best role models for women in our society.

In our current situation, creating role models is very important for our lifestyle and behavior -what we call and refer to today as social reference. To move along the path of life, in addition to having law, regulations, knowledge, and science, and rationality, having a role model is also important.

God could have presented Islam to the world through a book, but He did not do so; He revealed it to the heart of a great man named the Prophet (PBUH) and told him to read and recite the verses to the people and display them in action.

The Prophet, in addition to being a messenger, a prophet, a teacher, and a spokesman for the word of God, was also a role model for human society; a model can guide the human beings better, and among the great women of history, the best of them is Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS) and we have no higher model than her. Although in the Holy Quran, Saint Mary and other women such as the mother of Prophet Moses have a high status and dignity, yet we have no higher and better model than Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS).

Regarding women in society, I would like to make a few points; first, everyone, even women, and especially men, and everybody’s view of the status of women must be corrected; in other words, men and women are equal, both are human and have virtues, but it is not enough just to say it, but we must see it in practice and legislation and its enforcement.

If women are equal with men to God in terms of creation and human power, spiritual virtues and closeness to God, then we must see and observe this position in practice, behavior, way of life, attitude, and speech.

We have no doubt that God has put man and woman together and has explicitly said in the Holy Quran. “The best of practices” means the one that acts better and those who are more efficient and useful and everyone that can take the society towards prosperity are important.

To say that there must be a healthy competition in an Islamic society is because God has created us in a healthy competition; it must be a healthy competition in the economy of society, in management and in science, and this healthy competition is possible when we remove the obstacles and equalize opportunities.

How is it possible to compete when an opportunity is not equal in social, political, judicial, legislative, and scientific affairs; how can anyone compete if the opportunity is not equal? You give each one all the opportunities but you don’t give the other one the same opportunities; how can you say that the two are equal in my opinion? So why didn’t we give them an equal opportunity?

The first important issue is to give women equal opportunities and provide a healthy competitive environment in society. Women of our society, in the 41 years after the revolution, have appeared in all scenes together with men.

Of course, today in some places, there may be more women in responsibilities than men, in the education sector, if we measure; the number of female teachers is higher than that of men, about 61% of whom are female teachers.

Yes, in education, when it comes to statistics, it is good; when it comes to students at universities, statistics are good, when it comes to school students, statistics are acceptable, and when it comes to health care, statistics are almost acceptable. Yes, but is everywhere like this? When it comes to high management positions, is the position of women equal to that of men?

In the cabinet, if we are a group of 20-30 people, except for vice presidents where the President is free to choose women, what does it matter if you let the President choose ministers from women?

Fortunately, with what we have come into today as the digital economy and we hope this type of economy will grow, in the latest decision of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, we have adopted that at least 10% of the country’s economy must be digital. If we digitalize the economy, this means there is more opportunity for women.

In the eleventh and twelfth governments, I emphasized that it is the duty of all ministers and deputies to work for the presence of women, young people, and different ethnic and religious groups.

Before this government took office, some jobs were purely masculine, such as being an ambassador, which was quite a masculine job, and when I was talking about having a female ambassador, it might have been a little too heavy for the Foreign Ministry.

Thankfully, four women took positions at embassies, and I recently emphasized to the foreign minister to appoint women again in the vacant embassy positions.

Man is not the leader of the comfort. When a man enters the house, it is a woman who creates the comfort in the house, and the Quran itself says that the one who makes a house a home is a woman; a house without a woman is the house, not a home.

The last point I want to emphasize here is the presence of women in politics; the fact that women have never been as involved in politics as for the past 41 years in Iranian history and that women can change the outcome of an election. Women can change the results of presidential elections.

Certainly, your role today will be very important for the future of our country and thank you to all who are here.