Iran: A car designed especially for women
Iran Khodro, the state-backed manufacturer, said it would put the first models on sale next June to coincide with Iranian women's day. The car will be part of the Samand range, which has been exported to allied countries such as Syria and Venezuela. However, the women's car will initially be aimed solely at the Iranian domestic market.
Vahid Najafi, managing director of Iran Khodro's order unit, said the design was prompted by a sharp increase in women drivers and car owners and was based on research into their preferences and needs. Cars will be built in response to orders from customers.
"Women's necessities are different from men's," Najafi said. "For example, a woman goes shopping, takes children to school - so this car is going to have some visual distinctions that will separate it from other cars. It will be more beautiful. Cheerful and attractive colours will be used - for example red. A series of decoration pieces will be added to the interior, on the dashboard for example. What's important for women is that the car should be comfortable and handle well."
The idea is in line with gender separation officially encouraged by Iran's Islamic authorities. Last year they backed a proposal for a female bicycle designed to conceal the rider's legs and upper body. Women are discouraged from cycling, mainly to preserve notions of female modesty, and are banned from riding motorcycles, except as passengers.
A women-only taxi service, with women drivers, was recently launched in Tehran and other big cities. Men and women are segregated in buses and on Tehran's underground.
Iran Khodro last year announced plans for an Islamic car - with a navigation system designed to locate Mecca - to be produced jointly with Malaysia and Turkey.
By: Robert Tait and Noushin Hoseiny
7 October 2008
Source: The Guardian
Iran has announced plans for a new car designed specially for women. Its features will include automatic transmission, parking and navigation aids and a jack for changing tyres without getting grease on your chador.
Iran's biggest car producer, Iran Khodro, says it will come in a range of feminine colours and interior designs. Other features are proposed to make it easier for women when they are doing the family shopping or taking their children to school.
If that suggests a degree of sexist stereotyping in Iranian society, it is, just possibly, true.
Despite the fact that Iranian women now make up around 60% of university students, Iranian men have yet to absorb fully the message of equality.
A recent study by an academic from Allameh Tabatabaii University in Tehran found that working Iranian women believed that the domestic chores should be shared more equally. However, according to the report "their husbands think and act traditionally".
Indeed, the idea of married men cooking for their wives is viewed in Iran as highly eccentric.
As a result, the report concludes, Iran's new generation of working women "are obliged to play the role of a superwoman to resolve their contradictions in handling all tasks." It says such women "have become increasingly frustrated with their life".
Officially, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists that Iranian women are the most equal in the world. And the authorities proudly boast of the achievements and opportunities open to Iranian women. But the official Iranian concept of equality is very different from that understood by Western feminists.
Among the more eccentric policies here, Iran recently announced plans for a special bicycle for women.
None of the machines has been spotted yet, but apparently the idea is to provide special covers, to help preserve female modesty as they pedal.
Women, however, are still banned from riding motorcycles.
However, they can often be seen perched on the back, sometimes with one or two small children in their arms, as their husband weaves through the Iranian traffic.
By: Jon Leyne
7 October 2008
Source: BBC News
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