Female-Headed Households Living in Poverty

Female-Headed Households  Living in PovertyFemale-Headed Households  Living in Poverty

An estimated 30-50% of female-headed households and their children are living in poverty, according to Fatemeh Moghimi, a board member of Tehran Chamber of Commerce.

“In order to lift them from impoverishment, the responsibility to provide services that empower them should be given to non-governmental organizations, as they can focus better on the problems of such households,” she said, ISNA reported.

 The number of women-headed households has seen an upswing from 1.2 million in 1991 to around three million in 2017. 

At present, 9.5% of women are living alone due to the death of spouse (7.3%) or divorce (2.2%), as per the recent National Population and Housing Census. The majority are widows.

According to Hossein Raghfar, eminent economist and faculty member of Al-Zahra University in Tehran, “Although poverty is passed from parents to children, the government can address the problem through intervention.”

Pointing to the role and significance of education and vocational programs to end poverty among poor families, he said, “The most effective measure the government can, and must, take to fight poverty among widows and their children is through education.”

Provision of quality education can help children of female-headed families find decent jobs in the future, which can ultimately bring them out of the vicious cycle of poverty, he stressed. 

He also pointed to the role of charities in supporting female-headed households.

“The main responsibility of the campaigns run by charities is to raise public awareness about such issues and prod the government to take sustainable measures to help them.” They can also attract people’s contributions to help poor families.

 International Widow’s Day

The United Nations International Widows Day (June 23) addresses the “poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries.” The day aims to raise awareness on the issue of widowhood. 

Children of widows are often affected, both emotionally and economically. Widowed mothers, supporting their families alone, are usually forced to withdraw children from school and rely on their labor to sustain households. 

“According to estimates, there are more than 256 million widows worldwide (with 584 million children), of whom 15% live in poverty and suffer from social stigmatization and economic deprivation largely because they have lost their husbands,” says Ali Rabiee, minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare on the occasion.

The preliminary results of an ongoing national study indicated that most widows suffer from social marginalization in Iran. The study will help reveal their plight and incidence of abuse, he said.

Rabiee said the ministry will place on its agenda policies and programs to address the problems of widows. 

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