More Focus on Women in Sixth Plan

More Focus on Women in Sixth PlanMore Focus on Women in Sixth Plan

Empowering women and creating a family-oriented society is high on the agenda of the government and a number of initiatives to devise and implement projects regarding women and the youth have been taken, says Vice-President for Family and Women’s Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.

“We have high hopes in the sixth development plan (2016-2021) where women’s contribution in all spheres will receive sufficient impetus,” she said, at a function ‘Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s Mothers,’ on the occasion of National Girl’s Day recently, Borna News Agency reports.

The day is observed annually on the birth anniversary of Fatimah al-Ma‘sumah (PBUH), the sister of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eight imam of Shia Muslims.

Molaverdi said the administration seeks to harness young women’s potential through cooperation with various ministries, particularly the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, and stressed the government has not neglected women’s issues.

Given the political and economic conditions in 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani took office, the government was obliged to complete the previous administration’s unfinished projects on priority. “Therefore, the government could not afford to implement financially-costly projects such as housewives insurance or increase maternity leave to nine months, but we hope they will be enforced in the upcoming five-year plan.”

The government is looking to outsource specific functions to the private sector, including youth NGOs. Social issues such as the huge number of youth, characterized by the boom in population of 15-19 and 20-24-year-olds, are not gender-specific and need greater attention.

About 32% of Iran’s population comprises the youth, half of whom are girls; this can be either challenging or promising depending on how it is handled, Molaverdi said.

The low ratio of female to male faculty members, employers and employees, indicates a wide gender gap.

There are many regulations regarding the youth, but to execute them, “we need to promote human resources development and management and bring on board the target group in the development process.”

MoUs have been signed with the education, science, energy, agriculture jihad ministries as well as the Department of Environment to support women’s role in the economy.

“To encourage innovative women, skills and entrepreneurial workshops were held for 180 women in rural areas and agriculture graduates in Isfahan, Markazi and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces.”

Another initiative by the administration is the establishment of the Girls’ Workgroup at the Ministry of Sports which is tasked with identifying and addressing social ills among girls.

Issues pertaining to women such as identity crisis, gender gap in the job market, increasing age of marriage, and financial independence will also be separately addressed by the workgroup.

The top scorers among girls in this year’s university entrance exam (Concour) were also introduced and commended.