Six million women heads of households in Iran exposed to dangerous depression
Women heads of households in Iran are one of the oppressed and suffering strata of Iranian society and an emerging phenomenon. They are the oppressed class who bear the heavy burden of the family alone and are overwhelmed by all kinds of family, economic, and social problems.
Ensieh Khazali, the head of the directorate for Women and Family Affairs, explained a few observations regarding women and families during a series of meetings at the student club of Tehran University.
She said, “Unofficial statistics indicate that we have nearly six million women heads of households in Iran. Earlier, and at the beginning of the 6th Development Program, there were three million. During this period, some self-supporting women have been added to this number.” (The official IRNA News Agency – June 21, 2022)
In an interview with the state-run website, Shahrvand Online, on February 15, 2022, Maryam Poorhadi stated, “Based on 2018 statistics of the National Welfare Organization, Khuzestan province ranks first in Iran with 33,000 female heads of households. The city of Mashhad takes second place with 11,000 female heads of households.”
Also, Azadeh Rajabi, Director of Women and Family Affairs of Golestan Governorate, told the IRNA News Agency: “Some 12% of more than 900,000 women in Golestan province are heads of households and in urgent need of help to find employment. According to the 2016 census, Golestan Province has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population of 1.869 million, of whom 49% are women.” (The official IRNA News Agency – February 24, 2022)
Ensieh Khazali has also acknowledged the terrible conditions of women heads of households in Iran and the regime’s inaction in this regard.
Khazali said, “Some women heads of households in Iran are not in good condition. Women with bad guardians have worse conditions…. In the 6th Development Program, the Directorate for Women and Family Affairs was entrusted to devise a comprehensive plan for the empowerment of female households. However, nothing was accomplished by the end of the 12th government.” (The official IRNA News Agency – June 21, 2022)
Women heads of households in Iran suffer from dangerous depression
The skyrocketing increase in the price of basic goods has led to a noticeable decrease in purchasing power of many Iranian households, especially among the middle and lower classes. Due to this problem, many families, including married men and women, are more carefully regulating their families’ expenses.
In addition to economic destruction, the low purchasing power has also led to many mental problems. In the past few years, women heads of households in Iran have experienced an increase in mental illnesses such as depression, and this has led to negative consequences.
Ardeshir Garavand, a sociologist, emphasized that the inability to provide a family’s income can make heads of households depressed.
Garavand also stated, “Unfortunately, today, many heads of Iranian families face difficulties in adapting their incomes to the cost of living, which has led to many psychological harms. The simplest effect is depression and isolation of household’s heads, which, in extreme cases, can lead to dangerous consequences such as suicide or addiction of men and women heads of households in Iran.”
He continued, “The greatest pressure to adjust the household’s income is on the heads of the family. Even if a family does not have a problem earning enough income, heads of households must deal with the pressures of adjusting to rising costs. This is the same when the man and the woman are employed because the gap between daily expenses and incomes of middle- and lower-class households in our country is increasing daily.” (The state-run Rokna.ir – June 16, 2022)
Economic disasters and the rising cost of living caused by the regime’s policies have resulted in insufficient incomes for many Iranian families. In other words, the incomes of many Iranian households do not match their expenses, and the stress leads to psychological harm to the heads of households. Many heads of families, unable to improve their economic conditions, feel helpless, powerless, ashamed, and hopeless when facing their loved ones. The stress of these factors leads some to use drugs or commit suicide, increases domestic violence, and causes irreparable family and social harm.
Referring to the increased number of women heads of households in Iran, Ardeshir Garavand added, “In recent years, we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of women heads of households in Iran, especially in big cities. Meanwhile, many women heads of households in Iran have problems providing for themselves and their children. The support these women sometimes receive from the government covers 10% to 15% of their household expenses. Thus, women heads of households in Iran face more problems in providing for their families than married men, and they are more prone to depression” (The state-run Rokna.ir – June 16, 2022).