Iran has appointed two women as vice-presidents, after facing criticism over an all-male cabinet.
Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani has named Masoumeh Ebtekar as vice-president for women and family affairs; and Laaya Joneidi as vice-president for legal affairs.
Rouhani has also appointed Shahindokht Mowlaverdi as the president’s assistant for civil rights.
The President had come under fire after proposing 17 men for the 18 cabinet positions in parliament.
In Iran’s government, vice-presidents are lower ranking roles than ministers, but nominees for these roles do not require the approval of the male-dominated parliament.
During his previous term, Rouhani appointed three female vice-presidents, including Ebtekar, who was vice-president for the environment department. Ebtekar is internationally known for her role as spokesperson during the 1980 US embassy hostage crisis.
While Rouhani is a moderate cleric, who emphasised women’s rights during his election campaign, it is believed that he is giving into pressure from the religious establishment.
Speaking about the female appointments, Mowlaverdi said that the all-male cabinet showed that Iran was “treading water.”
Former health minister, Marzieh Dastjerdi, is the only woman to hold a cabinet position since 1979. She served from 2009 to 2013 under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Rouhani beat his hardliner opponent, Ebrahim Raisi in May after promising to improve the country’s ties with the West and improve Iran’s civil liberties. He also called for a greater female representation in politics and culture at a conference in February.