Women's Rights & Movements in IranIran’s Female Breadwinners Are Fighting Losing Battle Against Deadly...

Iran’s Female Breadwinners Are Fighting Losing Battle Against Deadly Poverty

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Most Iranian families have been subjected to increased economic and social problems throughout 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, but those headed by women have suffered the most because of the government’s institutionalized gender-based discrimination.

Regardless of the virus, the gender-based harassment or discrimination they may suffer, or anything else, female heads of household must still leave their house in order to put food on the table and almost all are in need of help because they have little savings to provide a buffer during these times.

Iran: Rural Women Are the Most Marginalized People

Official Statistics of Female Breadwinners

While the authorities are eager to hide or disguise situations, leaks from inside the government report 4 million female breadwinners, likely because of increasing divorce rates.

Sociologist Amanullah Bateni advises that 71 percent of divorced women have dependent children and 90% of those would not get married again, but that absent fathers create a whole realm of problems for the families.

He said that a third of sex workers are married to a prisoner and the overwhelming cause of their problems is poverty, while 48.7 percent of female heads of household are around 60 years old, which makes it harder to get a job.

Female Breadwinners’ Employments

The most common jobs for female breadwinners involve cooking, making pastry, pickling, packaging, carpet-weaving, teaching, personal care, and tailoring, but many of these were affected by the pandemic, as a result of knock-on economic problems and fewer people at markets.

“Especially for women who make food or handicrafts from home, the current health protocols have caused an increase in costs and a decrease in customers,” said Mojtaba Naji, the Social Affairs Deputy of Isfahan’s Welfare Department.

While Somayeh Ghasemi Tusi, Deputy of Women’s and Family Affairs in Mazandaran Governorate, said:  “There are 800 active kindergartens in Mazandaran province with 8,000 female employees. About 30-40 percent of these women are heads of household and are negatively affected by the closure of kindergartens.”

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One of the biggest problems, caused by the mullahs’ discriminatory laws that means many girls are marrying and having kids before they finish education, is low levels of education for women, leading to jobs that are part-time, uninsured, and with little in the way of benefits. These women are the first to go during hard economic times.

In addition, the government has not helped, providing only a meager amount of welfare that is far below the poverty line. Most female heads of household are fighting with deadly poverty and face attack from the regime’s agents. No wonder they are now facing a huge amount of mental and physical problems.

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