Women’s Priorities Outlined

Women’s Priorities Outlined
Women’s Priorities Outlined

The Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs has five priorities on its agenda in the next economic development plan (March 2016-2021), said Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi.

“After 18 months of holding technical sessions on our goals in the next plan, we decided on five major priorities, namely family structures, health, job market, social security insurance, and social harm,” she said at a conference held on Tuesday to elucidate the plan outlines.

The conference was attended by representatives of government bodies and department officials to shed light on the priorities of their respective organizations within the framework of the next national plan that focuses on economic, social and cultural progress, IRNA reported.

“Promoting education among women and girls, particularly among dropouts, and other major problems concerning women are on the agenda,” Molaverdi said.

The economic activity rate of women aged 10 and over stands at 13.3% (or 4.2 million) of the total 38% (or 24.5 million) economically active population in the country, according to the latest data provided in a report by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI). With less than 30% of working women employed in the public sector, the private sector is providing jobs to more than 70% of women.

According to the report, 28.7% of working women are employed in the public sector while the remaining 71.3% work in private enterprises. The percentage of women in private sector jobs is higher among the 18 to 24 years age group with 92.2% in this group working in the private sector, Khabaronline reported.

A review of the economic sectors where Iranian women are employed indicates that with 50%, the service sector is the most preferred by women, followed by the agricultural and industrial sectors with 24.7% and 21.8% respectively.

West Azarbaijan Province recorded the highest number of women working in the agricultural sector with 59.6%, while Isfahan Province ranked the highest in terms of women working in the industrial sector with 83.2%; Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad with 82.4% beat the other provinces in terms of women employed in the service sector.

A number of targets could not be reached in the now-concluding fifth FYDP, Molaverdi said noting that most of the obstacles stemmed from the bloated bureaucracy and organizational structures.

“There is lack of commitment on the part of executive bodies to appraise the outcome and consequences of gender inequality, and that is why the need to allocate adequate resources to pertinent issues is not felt as it should be,” she rued, pointing to the lack of disaggregated data in gender analysis.

“Gender-sensitive research and data analysis is essential,” she stressed.

  Inequitable Distribution

Molaverdi also said inequitable distribution and gender imbalance overwhelms the field of women and family affairs. Women’s iniquitous access to economic and social opportunities creates new problems, namely greater social harm, female breadwinners, divorce and unstable or broken families.

“Men have significant access to economic and political opportunities that women normally don’t, and we hope to rectify this discrepancy in the forthcoming plan. We envisage an environment where there is greater participation of women in national development and where men and women have equal access to resources, which will in turn help consolidate the institution of the family.”

She also made a mention of families in remote areas of the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province where women have been forced to pick up the economic slack while men fall victim to drug trafficking crimes.

“Such families need to be supported in order to prevent a repetitive cycle of crime, an issue that was ignored in the fifth FYDP, but we have taken this up in the upcoming plan,” the vice president said on Thursday, Mehr News Agency reported.

She called on the 10th Parliament (the elections for which was held on Friday), women lawmakers in particular, to take effective action in upholding the rights of women and help remove discrimination against women in all its forms and manifestations.