Development Policies Should Bring Women on Board

Development Policies Should Bring Women on BoardDevelopment Policies Should Bring Women on Board

Investments henceforth should focus on sectors that make way for women as contributors to national economic development on par with men; namely tourism, electronics and weaving industries, said Minister of Cooperatives Ali Rabiei, referring to the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1.

“Social norms must be acknowledged before devising policies concerning women and their role in national development,” he said, at a seminar on the ‘Untapped Socio-Cultural Capabilities of Female Workers’ on Tuesday, at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, reports ILNA.

Women have transformed into an immensely potent force in all social spheres, including economy and politics. Therefore, close cooperation among women in associations or NGOs can play a significant role in alleviating their problems.

Women’s role in society has become prominent in the past few decades with greater empowerment, and they will not tolerate injustice.

Noting that patriarchal attitudes are waning globally in the modern world, he said his ministry seeks to set up women NGOs in areas of labor and social welfare “given the lack of diversity in investment and business.”

Women no longer accept sole responsibility for sustaining the family and “institutionalization of gender division of labor needs greater attention.”

Female jobs went through a rough patch because of the western sanctions and increase in prices of imports in agriculture, 70% of which is managed by women, gardening, clothing and other sectors, Rabiei noted.

“Our society needs elite women with Iranian-Islamic values to ensure sustainable growth,” and the government has made it a priority to encourage women’s non-government organizations.

Rabiei cautioned that women NGOs must not act “as unions or syndicates” and balance all viewpoints according to the social and cultural ethos.

 Job Insecurity

Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, referred to wage inequality, job insecurity, and most important, maintaining balance between career and family, as stumbling blocks for women.

“Gender gaps in the job market are manifesting more than ever, and we need to ensure gender balance.”

In addition, respecting legal working age, freedom of association or assembly, preventing child labor, and creating equal opportunities are to be specifically addressed in the next five-year economic development plan (2016-20), she said.

Based on the 2011 census, 10% of women over 10 years of age were employed, 2.6% were seeking employment, 20.1% were in school, 2.1% were jobless, and 61% were homemakers.

Technically, 87% of the female population is economically inactive and the rate of employment among educated females stands at 34.3%, while the same is 60.44% for men.

Molaverdi said providing loans and other facilities for women-led knowledge-based businesses, valuation of nonmarket housework, and sensitizing officials to women’s economic participation are among future tasks to be undertaken by the government.

The deputy industries minister for women’s affairs and head of the Union of Working Women, Soheila Jelodarzadeh, said “a 30% presence of women in the labor market is a must and will help ensure sustainable development.”