Gender Imbalance in Workforce Close to Global Indices

Gender Imbalance in Workforce Close to Global IndicesGender Imbalance in Workforce Close to Global Indices

Although women comprise almost half of the nation’s population, their participation in the labor markets is unequal with men. Globally, the male employment ratio stands at 65 to 70 percent of the population, while the same figure is 40 to 45% for women.

“Male participation in the national workforce is close to global benchmarks, while female participation remains below 15%,” said Dr. Hassan Taei, the deputy minister of cooperatives, labor and social affairs.

He made the remarks at a conference in Zanjan on the role of women in socio-economic sustainability with a cooperative approach, IRNA reported.

He also said the population survey to be conducted in 2016 will determine if women’s participation has enhanced, while ruing that “current ratings are not satisfactory”.

The official said certain “supportive conditions for women act as a double-edged sword that hampers their participation in the labor market rather than promoting it,” given that some of the conditions are difficult for employers to meet or provide.

Noting that finding and keeping a job in the current market situation is a daunting task – more so for women – Taei said “women should try to comply with the existing conditions in the job market and not expect specific privileges as such expectations will hold them back”.

Economic growth and development directly impact their participation in the labor force. Women comprise a bigger part of the workforce in large provinces such as Tehran, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi, and East Azerbaijan.

 Informal Sector

Additionally, women are more likely to be engaged in the informal sector, where insurance cover by the Social Security Organization (SSO) is unlikely. The comprehensive insurance plan to provide basic coverage to all Iranians was therefore devised to ensure that even informal or part-time employees are under insurance coverage.

“Nearly 19% receiving SSO insurance are women; however, the rate increased during the past three years indicating that women’s employment in the formal job sector is on the rise.”

Most women are employed in the tertiary (service) sector of the economy, and work for low salary, he said, and called for harnessing their potential in primary sectors like agriculture.

Currently, 7.5% of the employment rate pertains to the cooperative sector which has a 25% share in the gross domestic production. The share is to be increased as per the Vision Plan (2005-2025) which aims to promote the country’s overall position at the national, regional, and international levels in development indices by 2025.