Economy, Domestic Economy

Women’s Low Economic Profile: Huge Wasted Potential

Women’s Low Economic Profile: Huge Wasted PotentialWomen’s Low Economic Profile: Huge Wasted Potential

Iran educates its women to much higher university levels than before but when they complete education, their economic potential is often squandered.

Female participation in the labor force stood at 13.3% [over 63.2% for men] in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), far lower than in developed countries.

Figures by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Affairs show more than 65.5% of educated Iranian women are jobless.

This comes as plenty of studies indicate countries could boost economic growth and capital, if the gender gap in the participation rates was narrower.

The Iranian government also believes that women’s participation could help develop the economy and lead to growth but has so far failed to tap into the full capacity of half of the population. Now why can’t Iranian women contribute to the economic prosperity of the country as much as they should?

According to a report by the Office of Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, problems associated with inequality and employment constitute 27% and 23% of women’s problems respectively, Tejarat-e Farda weekly reports.

In fact, gender inequality is behind most women’s problems. In the Iranian culture, the traditional prevalence of patriarchal culture has had far reaching economic consequences. The belief that men are main breadwinners of the family has is entrenched into the Iranian culture.

Fewer women hold professional, technical or managerial jobs in Iran, which is partly to blame on lack of opportunities.

When women suffer from low self-confidence, they are less ambitious to move up the career ladder, resulting in a low percentage of women in high-level positions.

When the choice is between dependency on men, either father or husband, and working out of home, a large population of women are more likely to choose the former. Many women simply do not wish to make money of their own by working out of home. The cultural onus is on men to provide for the family.

In other words, women are traditionally preferred to nurture the next generation, while men pursue their ambitious and careers.

All in all, getting more educated women into the workforce would have great economic advantages. Hence, making better use of women’s skills is not just a matter of bridging gender inequality, but it is also crucial for economic growth.