“Shahindokht is a twenty- something-year-old girl who works in a clothing store. She does not allow us to take a photo of her and the workplace or name her store in our report because she is afraid of losing her so-called job. She pictures the status of employed women by talking about her situation, ‘I faced terrible financial situation during the senior year. My father had been retired for years and he did not have much of income. He was working in a porcelain factory and I do not know yet why he earns less than his colleagues, however, he got retired after 20 years of work. My older brother was also a taxi driver and stricken with addiction. He works for several hours and spends his money on drugs. Some days ago, I was reading Hamshahri Newspaper in the hope of finding a job related to my field of study, history. I became disappointed after an exhaustive search and realized that I either have to peddle in the subway and the street or work as a typist or salesperson. As Typing was difficult for me, I started looking for jobs in clothing stores. Finally, I managed to find this clothing store. The day I came for the interview here, the women were queuing in such a long line to get the job. You may not believe it!’”
Shahindokht has been working in this clothing store for eight months. She earns her living from her salary and bonuses. She doesn’t have a written a contract with her employer, and has no fixed salary or insurance.
She says, “I monthly get 200 to 300 thousand Tomans ($60 to $90) from the owner of the shop for cleaning, brewing tea and other services and the rest of my salary is out of the percentage of sales. I usually earn 700 to 800 thousand Tomans ($213 to $243) and it reaches to one and a half million Tomans ($456) in time of New Year. I am waiting for September when the schools and universities open up and the girls and students come to buy mantels, therefore, I can receive more percentage of sales.”
While ILNA interviewed Shahindokht, two or three women entered the shop. Shahindokht worries because she is missing out, while he colleagues have the chance to earn the percentage of sales.
Many girls like Shahindokht are deprived of labor rights and work at jobs for piece-work wages. They earn only when business is good for the owner, but if business is poor, these workers don’t earn much. They labor without any clear vision of their earnings.
“This is the fate of the educated girls in this country.”