Women heads of household suffer from discrimination, unemployment

In the dire economic conditions in Iran, women heads of household (WHH) suffer from discrimination, inequality, unemployment and lack of job security.

Eassa Mansouri, Labor Ministry’s deputy for creation of jobs and employment, acknowledged that women’s share is serious in the Iranian economy.

According to Massoumeh Ebtekar, head of the directorate for women and family affairs, Iranian women make 75 percent of the handicraft industries’ products, 40 percent of agricultural products, and 80 percent of the carpet industry productions. (The official IRNA news agency – May 4, 2019) Most of these women are women heads of household. (The official IRNA news agency – May 16, 2018)

This is while Eassa Mansouri said, “The economic participation rate in our country is low. While in other countries the economic participation rate is sometimes up to 80 percent, the economic participation in our country is around 40 percent. Maximum participation is between 30 to 40 years of age but women have a very low share.” (The state-run ILNA news agency – May 4, 2019)

According to the Iranian regime’s officials, there are more than 3.6 million women heads of household in Iran. (The state-run IRNA news agency – October 7, 2018) The Welfare Organization gives a small support to only 180,000 of these women. (The state-run Tabnak website – February 13, 2018) Some 82 per cent of them are unemployed. (The state-run ISNA news agency – July 7, 2018)

The number of women heads of household in Iran is steadily increasing but they face numerous problems due to the economic crisis in Iran and discrimination against women.

Women who head and provide for their families are among the most vulnerable strata who do not enjoy any government support and have to deal with economic, social and cultural problems due to death, addiction, retirement or disability of their husbands, divorce and separation, among other reasons.

Susan Bastani, strategic studies deputy at the directorate for women and family affairs, said according to a research, the three main problems women heads of household face in Iran are discrimination and inequality, unemployment, and lack of social security. The next problems they face are lack of freedom and choice, lack of social respect, poverty and economic deprivation. (The official IRNA news agency – May 4, 2019)