SWO Empowering Women on Welfare

SWO Empowering Women on Welfare SWO Empowering Women on Welfare

Over the past year that ended in mid-March, 12.7% of female heads of households under the coverage of the State Welfare Organization (SWO) “were empowered and dropped from the list of welfare support,” said deputy head Habibollah Masoudi Farid.

“Currently, there are 600,000 people in women-headed households under SWO support, and 10% of them are empowered by the organization annually,” he told IRNA.

Empowering breadwinners entails acquiring literacy, getting trained for jobs, and provision of housing. Women over the age of 60 continue to receive financial aid from the organization “since they have crossed the age threshold to entering the national workforce.”

The SWO budget in the previous year was 2,200 billion rials ($63 million), which is projected to increase by 20% this year, Farid noted.

More than five million people are supported by the SWO, of whom 180,000 are women heads of households. Furthermore, 58,000 women are waiting to be brought under its coverage.

The number of female-headed households has more than doubled over a quarter century and seen an upswing from 1.2 million in 1991 to 2.5 million in 2015, indicating a 108% increase. Higher rate of divorce is largely responsible for the increasing number of female-headed households. It should be noted that addiction is the main cause of divorce, constituting 55%. 

The SWO pays a monthly allowance to women breadwinners, but the amount is less than 40% of the national minimum wage.

Referring to the proposal to pay 40% more to female breadwinners in the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan, he said it was not implemented, but the matter has been incorporated in the sixth FYDP (2016-2021) that is under review in the Majlis. 

The SWO also plans to improve welfare support in accordance with the living conditions of each family under their coverage.