Gov’t Service Exam on Hold to Rectify Gender Bias in Jobs

Gov’t Service Exam on Hold  to Rectify Gender Bias in Jobs Gov’t Service Exam on Hold  to Rectify Gender Bias in Jobs

The government has postponed the nationwide administrative service examination until such time the gender bias in employment quotas are removed and all applicants get jobs solely on the basis of merit and qualifications.

The government service examination was scheduled for late July, but is on hold for the time being, and the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) has been tasked with removing the “discriminatory gender quotas to ensure women’s rights and serve justice in employment processes”, said the presidency’s website.

“At Monday’s session of the cabinet, President Hassan Rouhani directed the MPO to remove the unfair quotas and create equal job opportunities for men and women,” Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi said in a communiqué on her Telegram channel.

The decision is the culmination of the Vice Presidency’s efforts in pursuit of the matter via the First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri. The exam will provide 3,000 new job opportunities in the executive branch.

Although women comprise over 60% of the university graduates in Iran, they face barriers in finding employment. Iranian women are educated to much higher university levels than before, but after they complete education, their economic potential is often squandered due to lack of jobs.

According to the latest figures released by the Statistical Center of Iran, last year’s labor force participation rate (proportion of the population 10 years old and above that is economically active) stood at 63.2% for men and 13.3% for women, far lower than in developed countries.

A 1% increase in the labor force participation rate this year saw the country’s active population rise to 24.7 million, with 882,000 new applicants entering the job market.

Figures by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Affairs show that more than 65.5% of educated Iranian women are jobless. The unemployment rate is 19.7% for women, nearly twice the figure for men (10.25%). Meanwhile, 75% of women are in jobs unrelated to their field of study.

  Full Capacity Not Tapped

The Rouhani government believes that women’s participation could help develop the economy and lead to growth but the administration has so far failed to tap into the full capacity of half the population. Thus, Iranian women have not been able to contribute to the economic prosperity of the country as much as they should.

According to a report by the Office of Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, inequality and unemployment constitute 27% and 23% of women’s problems respectively, the Tejarat-e Farda weekly had earlier reported.

In fact, gender inequality is behind most of women’s problems and the traditional patriarchal culture has had far reaching economic consequences. The belief that men are main breadwinners of the family is widely entrenched in the social psyche.

Fewer women hold professional, technical or managerial jobs in Iran, which is partly to blame on lack of opportunities and gender bias in employment. Of the total female workforce, 4% are in the executive managerial posts, 10% in sales, 20% in the industrial sector, 50% are experts in various fields including teaching, 11% are office clerks or tellers, and 5% are active in other sectors, says a report by the Iran Entrepreneurship Association.