It’s becoming a bit of a fad for Muslim countries to use women as the public face or voice of their governments, particularly at the foreign ministry. Often, they deploy them as spokespersons – it’s a good way to suggest inclusiveness and particularly helpful that their job description puts them before the press day after day.
The optics, as they say, look good.
As in the case of Iran’s Marzieh Afkham.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s deputy spokesperson Adela Raz.
Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Tasneem Khan.
The point about Ms Afkham and Ms Khan is that it was a particularly easy decision to send them out in front of the media to talk about their respective country’s foreign policy.
They know what they’re doing as they’re career diplomats. Ms Khan, in fact, has twice served as ambassador (as well as a previous stint a decade ago as foreign ministry spokesperson).
Afghanistan’s Adela Raz too was eminently qualified for a high-profile communications job, considering she had a Master’s Degree in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts. That said, I’m not sure she managed to achieve any particular smoothening of her boss’s grizzly bear image, but then, reality didn’t help.
(Tomorrow: Barack Obama has the most women ambassadors of any American president)