Long Way to Go for Women in Top Management

Deputy oil minister, Marzieh Shahdaie.Deputy oil minister, Marzieh Shahdaie.

Although the government has laid the tracks to improve women’s status in management, there is still a long way to go before they can get their due share, said Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.

“Women’s share of senior management and middle management posts is less than 3%,” she said at a panel discussion on the ‘Challenges Women Face in Management” at Tehran University on Monday, the Vice-Presidency’s website reported.

“If women’s share in political participation is any indication of their civil rights status, there is still a long way to go before their social rights are equitably realized despite the measures taken and efforts made to level the playing field.”

Gender discrimination is the main stumbling block for the just realization of women’s social rights which in turn limits their participation in political spheres and management.

Molaverdi cited wealth acquisition and power as the two main areas from where women have been kept away, and blamed the traditional mindsets for the situation.

“Traditional thinking, even among women themselves, is one of the barriers for women’s social and political participation,” she stressed.

“However, traditional lifestyles across the world which unfairly put the burden of family and households on women are also a contributing factor to women shying away from participating in the political and management fields.”

She further said that unjust distribution of household responsibilities, discriminating views, in general the lower educational level of women compared with men, not having proper role models to look up to, lack of support from women in power or within families, fear of being exposed to various forms of violence (physical or verbal), and the institutionalized and defined roles of women as providers inside the home, and men as providers outside, has immensely shrunk their potential capacity to learn and be involved in major decision making processes.

 Lack of Women in Government

“President Hassan Rouhani had asked his ministers to appoint at least one woman as deputy minister in order to allow women to gain experience in management roles and the self-confidence on the bigger national scene,” Molaverdi recalled.

But, there are only two deputy ministers (Marzieh Shahdaie as deputy oil minister and Marzieh Gard as deputy education minister) among the 110 deputies in the 18 ministries. During his presidential campaign, Rouhani had pledged to create more jobs for women. Despite all the measures taken and the expectations based on his statements, Iranian women’s share of ministerial positions is zero, although there are three women vice-presidents in the government.

“Women have not managed to move past the existing barriers yet,” rued Molaverdi. She, however,  did not say what actually had kept the huge bureaucracy from appointing women as deputy ministers.

The vice presidency has made efforts to sensitize the pertinent authorities toward the issue. “To overcome the existing obstacles, the existing gender disparities for various posts must be first rectified.”

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