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Summary of the International Symposium "Women, Peace and Sustainable Development"
(9 May 2016, Teheran)


SESSION 1 "Empowerment of Women: Issues and Challenges"

 In the first session entitled "Empowerment of Women: Issues and Challenges," Ms. Mizue Tsukushi, President of Good Bankers, and Dr. Susan Basutani, Professor of University of AlZahra, delivered their presentations. Ms. Tsukushi established an investment-advisory company fully devoted to SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) based on her own experience of being housewife. She emphasized the women's potential abilities to build sustainable environment and society through SRI for future generations. Dr. Basutani, analyzing the trends of women's employment rate in Iran over twenty years, she pointed out that Iranian women's educational background came to significantly improve that led to the expansion of the opportunity for women to participate in the decision making process. Overall, Dr. Basutani emphasized that responsibility of women was constantly expanded throughout the period she observed.
In the Q & A session, Mr. Nobuhisa Degawa, Senior Commentator of NHK, asked Ms. Tsukushi "what is the task of the governments to promote empowerment of women?" Ms. Tsukushi suggested that government should increase the tax in order to advance social welfare. Mr. Degawa asked Dr. Basutani "what is necessary to increase the number of the woman politician?" In response to this question, Dr. Basutani proposed the introduction of quota system.


SESSION 2 "Role of Women in Peace"

 In the second session entitled "Role of Women in Peace," Dr. Hisae Nakanishi, Professor of Doshisha University, and Dr. Seyed Mir Mohammad Sadeghi, Professor of Shahid Beheshti University, delivered their presentations. From comparative perspective of the Iranian and Japanese societies, Dr. Nakanishi insisted that legal measures including maternity leave are mandatory to guarantee active participation of women in the labor market. Dr. Sadeghi talked about violence against women, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, gender violence in armed conflicts and violence against dignity of women. In order to reduce and/or eradicate such violence against women, he suggested that international community should cooperatively tackle those challenges.
In the Q & A session, one of the participants asked "how can we change the people's traditional mentality towards women?" In response to this question, while recognizing the difficulty changing culture and tradition, Dr. Nakanishi pointed out the impact of social media, which seemed to have successfully altered some aspects of social norms and values particularly among the young generation in Iran.


SESSION 3 "Role of Women in Medical Disaster Relief"

  In the third session entitled "Role of Women in Medical Disaster Relief," Dr. Mieko Ishii, Associate Professor of Tokyo Health Care University, and Dr. Seyed Amir Mohsen Ziaei, President of Iran's Red Crescent Society, delivered their presentations. Dr. Ishii, as a nurse, engaged in disaster relief activities both in Japan and abroad that included Bam Earthquake in south-east of Iran, Great East Japan Earthquake in Fukushima and more recently Kumamoto Earthquake in Kyushu in Japan. Through her disaster relief activities Dr. Ishii learned that it was necessary that both men and women establish much closer and stronger networks than usual during the disaster period, which would make possible speedy and efficient relief activities to save the disaster affected people.
Dr. Ziaei indicated that Iran was a resilient country vis-a-vis disasters. Moreover, in order to create effective preventive program, Dr. Ziaei reported various training programs for women being conducted by his institute. His institute paid attention to specific needs of women, as well as established health care programs for family with an attention to the mother.
In Q & A session, a young Iranian lady asked Ms. Ishii "how can women exercise their leadership?" Dr. Ishii responded by saying, "A matured self-management skills are necessary to obtain leadership".

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Building Relationships between Iran and International Society
Report: The International Symposium "Women, Peace and Sustainable Development"