Women heads of household have suffered greater damage and pressure during the coronavirus crisis due to the regime’s incompetence.
More than a month since the official announcement of the coronavirus outbreak by the Iranian regime, wage-earning workers and vulnerable sectors have not had any income for at least one month.
The clerical regime is not capable of managing the crisis and for this reason, it has not quarantined any of the cities. The mullahs’ president, Hassan Rouhani has done nothing for the people except for giving hollow promises. He just calls on people to stay home without solving their problems.
All workers and vulnerable sectors have suffered greatly in the coronavirus crisis, but women heads of household who work at home and are their families’ breadwinners are experiencing unbearable pressure and loss because they are not able to sell their products.
Women do not have lasting jobs. They do not have a market or some permanent place to sell their products. They also lack financial backing, particularly those women who work at home or do peddling in the streets. They face more restrictions than others.
There have been cases where the family’s mother contracted coronavirus and her children do not know how to care for her or pay her medical expenses.
Women heads of household in Khuzestan province
At least 33,000 women heads of household live in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran. This is the largest number of women heads of household compared to other provinces. On the other hand, there is a high number of peddler women and those who work at home. Considering these figures, the government’s failure to support these women during the coronavirus crisis has had a tremendous adverse impact on their lives.
The exponential rise in the number of deaths and coronavirus cases in Khuzestan led to the ban on holiday trips to this province and recently the activities of unessential businesses in some cities including in the capital, Ahvaz, have been prohibited.
A survey done on some 140 women who are engaged in home businesses, peddling or production of handicraft shows that they are under tremendous economic pressure, with some becoming so disappointed that are pondering suicide.
Women heads of household are also usually malnourished with weak immune systems. The government should have helped them to prevent them from becoming ill. (The official IRNA news agency – March 24, 2020)
A women’s rights activist said in this respect, “I have had calls from women heads of household in Izeh, Bostan and Shadegan (all cities in Khuzestan Province). They said they were planning to commit suicide. Our prediction is that if no solution is offered to these women, there would be a large number of suicides among them after the coronavirus disease.”
Another example of women’s home businesses
A woman head of household in Ahvaz said, “My only source of income is to make and sell relish sauce. In the past month after the coronavirus outbreak, however, I have not been able to sell any of my products and I have many problems.”
She went on, “My debts remain unpaid, and there is rent and other expenses. On the other hand, I don’t have any refrigerator or place to keep my relish sauce, and I am worried about them rotting.”
Mrs. Goudarzi, disabled in one leg, has two daughters, 18 and 16 years of age. Both of them are students.
It has been a month since she has applied for welfare and the Welfare Organization is supposed to pay her a monthly pension of 200,000 tomans (USD 12) which is literally nothing compared to the 8 million toman poverty line ($730) for a family of four.
Mrs. Goudarzi said, “Several days ago, they had come to cut off our water. We had a hard time to prevent them from doing so. We were disgraced before our neighbors. I have no family or anyone to help me. Over the years, I have been working to earn my family’s living. The government does not give us any aid so that we could get through this crisis and compensate for our losses!” (The official IRNA news agency – March 24, 2020)
Job insecurity is just one of the problems of women heads of household during the coronavirus crisis in Iran.
To keep the actual infection rate and death toll secret, Iranian officials have resorted to subterfuge. Rouhani’s government has filled the cemeteries and falsely claims that hospitals are empty. They expel the Doctors without Borders and claim that they have enough resources.
The main problem in Iran is a corrupt dictatorship which only thinks of preserving its own power. People’s lives have no significance for the Iranian authorities. The regime does not allow international aid reach the people in need without intermediaries. They evade supervision to funnel the aid to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and regime leaders.
The people of Iran and particularly the enlightened women of Iran see the solution to all problems, including the coronavirus crisis, in regime change and establishment of a democratic government instead of the clerical regime.