Women in Iran face various problems in their work environments. Despite having higher education, once they enter the workforce, they are deprived of their minimum rights and are victims of gender discrimination in all aspects of the society.
The state-run IRNA news agency published a report describing the conditions of a female employee and wrote, “Laleh is a woman who has stepped into the country’s economy. She is 30 and has a senior degree in environmental research with five years of experience recorded in her CV. What Laleh explains is gender bias at work.
“In the start, I used to work in a lab near Tehran which was known for its environmental activities. However from the very beginning, we were only paid once every 2 or 3 months. We were never told about this officially and the paychecks would be delayed for various reasons.
“All the employees at that time were women. The company had divided that year’s New Year’s bonus through the course of the year and they practically gave us nothing as a New Year’s gift. The reasons provided by the director later was that if he wanted to pay us each month, he
would have hired male employees! He said our expenses are paid by our fathers and those who have husbands. He said: Let this money be in my hands as your savings!”
Laleh believes the lack of adequate job opportunities has forced people to endure unfair working conditions and they are forced to keep silent. Furthermore, many of the women are unaware of employment laws. Therefore, the employers easily take advantage of their lack of knowledge and no one protests at all.
“When someone enters a place where there are many others working there before, she automatically looks at how they behave and follows their steps, as if some things are systematic and unchangeable. If those who have been there before me did not have patriarchal beliefs, and understood that getting their paychecks and demanding their pay is not a sign of weakness nor poverty, this issue would not have become so ordinary.”
(State-run IRNA news agency – September 30, 2015)