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Zahra Shojaei, an outspoken advocate of women's rights, was advisor on women's affairs under President Khatami, and as such a member of his cabinet from 1997-2005.

Center for Women's Participation

In 1997, Khatami created the Center for Women's Participation, which then became the main institution responsible for handling women's affairs in the country, affiliated with the presidency. When Ahmadinejad took the presidency in 2005, he renamed it Center for Women and Family Affairs (Markaz-e Omor-e Zanan va Khanevadeh Riasat-e Jomhuri).

Appointment to Iranian Cabinet

President Khatami appointed Zahra Shojaei as his advisor on women's affairs (a position formerly held by Shahla Habibi) and the head of the Center for Women's Participation. This appointment made her a member of the Iranian Presidential Cabinet. Zahra Shojaei, along with Masoumeh Ebtekar, participated in the first cabinet since the Islamic Revolution to include women.


With the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 2005, Nasrin Soltankhah was appointed to Shojaei's post. The center was renamed Center for Women and Family Affairs, as opposed to Center for Women's Participation as it was called under Khatami. Participation was no longer a policy emphasis.

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