The state-run ILNA news agency wrote on 6 October 2019: “The latest labor market data show that the situation of women in the spring of 2019 has deteriorated compared to the spring of 2018, and 170,000 of the active female population has declined. Even worse, this spring the number of female workers also fell by 32,000.”

The unemployment rate among graduated women is also higher than the unemployment rate among graduated men.

“Unemployment of educated women in the majority of the country, including in rural areas, is three to four times higher than unemployed men,” said Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President for women’s and family affairs.

Ebtekar also noted that due to the lack of jobs and the need for women to earn a monthly income, some women have turned to informal work with very little pay, and statistics show that women’s informal employment is on the rise. (ILNA, 18 October 2019)

Women in this outdated system are among the cheapest labor force in Iran. According to the Iranian parliamentary research center, “The unemployed are discouraged from seeking work and are out of the job market, and the large share of women with 50% of the working-age population is reflective and noticeable.” (State-run Fars news agency, 24 July 2019)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was accused by Iran watchers of lying about the rise in the number of female workers in an attempt to cover the reality. He told state television: “In the eleventh government, the presence of women in employment was with a strong presence.” (Channel 1, 28 November 2017)

A review by the Statistics and Strategic Information Center of the Ministry of Cooperation, Labor and Social Welfare showed that the population of unemployed women from 2011 to 2017 has increased from 830,996 to more than 1.37 million – an increase of over 200,000 in this period.

Ali Rabeii, former Labor Minister, confessed: “Over the past 20 years, the rate of women’s unemployment has increased five times.” (ILNA news agency, 2 September 2017)

The income of women in Iran is nothing staggeringly low, while their situation is disastrous. The state-run daily Shahrvand wrote on 28 June 2017, about women with an income of 1.50 million rials while working in jobs lower than their specialty. This report referred to the unfortunate life of a working girl and wrote:

I have been working in this sandwich-stand for about six months from 3 pm to 12 midnight. I have a bachelor’s degree in political science from Payam Noor University and earn 1.5 million rials per month.