06.05.134:40 PM ET

Iranian Women’s Roles In Focus

Presidential candidate blasts West for treating woman like "economic tools."

While campaigning for Iran's fast-approaching presidential election, candidate Saeed Jalili said (in an address to a mostly female audience) that, “Women’s core identity lies in motherhood, not in an economic context.” Jalili used Western women as an argument, claiming they are simply an “object” and “economic tool.” He claimed Iran is a greater backer of women's rights than the West. Fifty-two percent of Iranian graduates in 2009 were women, and they make up 27 percent of the workforce. In fact, current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—who isn't eligible for re-election—proposed a plan in 2008 for married women’s working days to be reduced by two hours, and by an additional hour for each child, with no cuts to salary.