If there is one section of Iranian society keeping an extra close eye on the result on the presidential election it is the women.
Since the revolution of 1979, when the secular system was swept away and replaced with a strict Islamic regime under Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s women have seen their rights eroded. Whether it is child custody, divorce or simply their dress code, they are just not treated the same as men. “In the Khomeini revolution, blood was shed for our generation,” said one, waiting to vote at a women only polling station in Tehran. Another said: “We want to change our future. The new leader will have to do things differently.” The incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won four years ago promising to revive the values of the 1979 revolution. But analysts say the high turnout this time could indicate that the pro-reformers, who stayed away then, are now making their voices heard. Several candidates have said they will improve women’s rights. And the main challenger has campaigned with his wife at his side – unprecedented in recent years – and something that has raised the hopes of women’s rights campaigners.