News : Women

Iran: Women Have to Support More Than Three Million Families

Women heads of households are the first victims of high costs who are forced into leaving the cities and moving to the slums and shantytowns, to escape from poverty and high rents.

In the past ten years, the number of Iranian single mothers has increased by 58 percent. This phenomenon is taking place while statistics show at least three million single mothers need to be supported by the government.

On December 20, Tehran’s governor and the former head of the Rehabilitation Organization Anushirvan Mohseni Bandpey requested providing equal conditions for the empowerment of single mothers. While attending the inauguration ceremony of a nursery center, Bandpey said that the needy people do not enjoy equal opportunities. He earlier described women’s problems as, “There are still three million single mothers who are truly disempowered.”

In Iran, single mothers have to carry out their responsibilities due to their husbands’ death, addiction, imprisonment, unemployment, disability, or divorce, etc. “Over the past ten years, the number of families run by single mothers exceeded by 58 percent in comparison to families supported by men as the breadwinners. Divorce was the main reason for this issue,” said Nahid Tajeddin, a female Iranian member of the Majlis (parliament) and a member of the Social Committee.

According to Iran’s 2016 census report, women are supporting 12 percent of Iran’s 21 million families. The reality is single mothers are the most vulnerable segment of Iranian society. Factually, social and economic crises severely affect their lives and these women have to bear all the burden, mainly focusing on raising the children in most cases. Nearly one-third of women who are living in the streets are the wives of prisoners. Livelihood obstacles are the main cause of imprisonment in Iran.

Iranian authorities claim economic privileges have been allocated to single mothers in the 2020-2021 fiscal budget. However, given the mind-blowing inflation that has engulfed entire sectors of the country, these privileges barely provide anything at all. “Billions of tomans in credit are dedicated to removing the absolute poverty of single-parent householder families, especially women. However, the rise in inflation has made 70 percent of these resources ineffective.”

The fact is that authorities’ negligence regarding single mothers and the implementation of misogynistic laws have compelled the female segment of Iran’s population in its entirety to confront the rulers for their basic rights. Notably, Iranian women and girls were role models during the recent November protests.

In this context, on November 20, the state-run Mashreq website wrote, “During the recent unrest, the special leading and organizing role of women were impressive. In numerous parts, particularly in Tehran's suburbs, 30 to 35-year-old women seemed to play the lead role in the [protests]. Our reporter's observations show that each one of these women in uniforms had a separate task. One was filming the unrest, another stopped the cars, and another encouraged local to join the protesters’ ranks.”

However, the Iranian people suffer from the ayatollahs’ oppressive policies. This, in particular, includes the misogynist measures that have left no option for Iranian women except revolting against the ruling system. This reality has been well exhibited during the recent uprising in Iran. Mashreq wrote on the same day: “The vibrant presence of women has been an important factor in arousing the emotions and zeal of the Iranian society… resulting in the expansion of the protests!”