Women’s Role Reviewed

Women’s Role ReviewedWomen’s Role Reviewed

At a seminar on “Gender Sociology” on the occasion of World Women’s Day (March 8), the achievements and setbacks in areas concerning women over the outgoing Iranian year (ends March 19) were reviewed and discussed.

The symposium, organized by the Studies and Research Group of the Iranian Sociology Association, was attended by activists and experts in the field, reports the Persian-language daily ‘Shahrvand’.

“Women were quite active over the past year, but there’s still great scope for improvement in several areas,” said Maryam Mirzanejad, member of the association and CEO of Mehr-e Taban (Shimmering Light) Institute, a public charity that works to support vulnerable girls and women.

Over the past year, women’s social involvement rate dropped by 6.9% from the earlier 14.1%, placing Iran in the 140th place in terms of women’s social participation according to the 2015 UN Human Development Reports.

The rate of female employment did not see a tangible growth in the outgoing year, Mirzanejad said, noting that only 12% of women in the country are currently employed.

Unemployment among young Iranian men is far less when compared to joblessness among young women. According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the economic activity rate of population aged 10 and above stood at 13% for women and 63% for men while the unemployment rate was 19.2 % and 9% respectively in spring 2015.

This is while the total number of female-headed households in the country has seen a whopping 55% upswing from 1.2 million in 1991 to 2.5 million in 2015, accounting for 12% of all Iranian households, indeed a huge portion of the national population in dire need of steady income.

“Removal of women from the job market will introduce a myriad of social ills,” she said. There was a 2,400-job quota for women in state-run organizations this year, while the share was above 4,400 for men, raising questions on the gender bias.

She also pointed out that the rate of termination of pregnancies saw a 14.6% surge in the same period which could “be directly linked to economic reasons.”