One of the officials of the presidential directorate on women and family affairs declared that Iran ranks 140th among 144 countries in 2017 Gender Gap report.
In an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency on Saturday, January 13, 2018, Leila Falahati, international director of the directorate on women and family affairs, said the reason Saudi Arabia ranks 138th in women’s economic participation is because it has a larger number of women in the parliament.
Women’s economic participation rate is 22.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia while it is 17 per cent in Iran, Leila Falahati said.
Despite the large number of educated women in Iran, unemployment index for educated women is twice as much as men’s.
Hassan Ta’ii, job market advisor to the Minister of Labor, Cooperation and Social Welfare, said in September 2017, that working women receive 77% of men’s wage for equal work, and as such they lag 10 years behind their male colleagues.
Women’s economic participation is much lower than men’s. According to the estimates of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World’s Bank, women’s economic participation in Iran is only 22 per cent compared to men’s. This leaves Iran way behind other economic powers in the Middle East region. Women’s economic participation is 42.5% in Turkey, 33.6% in Lebanon, and 30.1% in Egypt.
Attempting to justify the low rate of economic participation in Iran, Falahati took advantage of women’s traditional roles in the villages and in their family businesses, and said, rural women have a “high economic participation” as they are engaged in agricultural activities, production of handicraft, carpet weaving, etc., but they present themselves as housewives.
She added, if such activities had been registered, Iranian women’s economic participation would have increased to 30%. (The state-run ISNA news agency, January 13, 2018)
Previously, Rouhani had claimed that he had created 307,000 new jobs for women, while considering peddling in the streets as a job created by the government. This is while municipality agents round up peddlers every day on the streets and confiscate their belongings, and women engage in this job only as a last resort to earn the living of their families.