Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, may have pledged to promote women's rights and recently nominated a female vice president. But, if a striking image captured during Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's introduction is any indication, Iran still has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality.
In the photo taken earlier this month, female journalists sit on the floor and take notes during the inauguration. They are surrounded by men, many of whom are seated in chairs.
#Iran's new prez promising gender equality while female reporters cover speech seated on floor. Telling. pic.twitter.com/b19L4vLxSz
— Ruxandra Guidi (@RuxandraGuidi) August 27, 2013
"Shameful," Iranian journalist Reza Asadi commented on Twitter, while another Iran-based user wrote: "No. No. No. Women's place is NOT on the floor."
As blog Iran Watching notes, maybe the female reporters voluntarily sat there to get a better view of Zarif and Rouhani during their speeches. But as Al-Monitor's Iran Pulse editor Arash Karami wondered on Twitter, why didn't any of the seated men offer their chair?
Did none of these men offer these female reporters their seat at introduction of Iran's new FM? pic.twitter.com/UKtRxAwuE7
— Arash Karami (@thekarami) August 17, 2013
The country has made some strides this week. On Tuesday, Iranian media reported that Zarif will appoint women to the positions of ambassador and foreign ministry spokesperson -- a first for the Islamic republic, NDTV notes.
However, based on the photos from the foreign minister's inauguration, it seems Rouhani still has his work cut out for him.