The bitter story of women heads of households pain and suffering in Iran

Poverty among Iranian women has become so prevalent that state media and officials are referring to it as ‘feminine poverty’, a term which now has turned commonplace.

With nearly four decades past since the Iranian regime’s coming to power, poverty among people, including women, is still commonplace and even catastrophic among female-headed households.

State-run Shargh newspaper reports on October 13 on the situation in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province’s rural areas, acknowledging parts of the disaster taking place under the Iranian regime.

Below is part of the state-run newspaper’s report:

With a poor financial status, Zyadi Pouramir, 45, lives with her two sons. Her husband died four years ago at the age of 85 due to a heart attack.

Golshan Zaman, 40, has seven children. Her husband has vision-related problems and is unable to work, so Golshan is single-handedly responsible for the children.

Kobra Bidarkhoo is 29. Her husband committed suicide three years ago due to poverty-related psychological issues. Kobra now lives with his three sons, with their only source of income coming from a relief foundation and cash subsidy payments.

Afsaneh Ghobadian is 28. Her husband was killed four years ago in ethnic clashes. Afsaneh now lives with her two daughters along with her late husband’s parents.

Zaynab Doreh, 28, lost her husband four years ago in a traffic accident. Together with her daughter, Shala, Zaynba now lives with her late husband’s parents.

These are just some of short descriptions shared in a pictorial report, yet stories could be told and analyses could be made for each and every one of them.

The story of women and girls forced to marry as a child and in many cases as the nth wife of men dozens of years older.

Fatemeh Abedi, the photographer who traveled to Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province’s rural areas to report on the situation of women there, was faced with many women heads of households in the region, illustrating parts of their bitter, painful life after spending a few days and establishing a close relationship with them.

The photographer says that many girls in these areas are forced to marry at an early age due to poverty, cultural issues, and lack of education.

Aside from the story of ‘Zyadi Pouramir’ who lost her 85-year-old husband at 45, Abedi also remembers another woman, who at 24 is the fifth wife of an 85-year-old man.

Abedi says that many of women’s husbands in the rural areas of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, where she spent a few weeks, have directly or indirectly been lost due to poverty, either losing their lives in road accidents while travelling through impassable routes, or even due to committing suicide.

She tells the story of Kobra Bidarkhoo, whose husband committed suicide, and says that many men in these rural areas have decided to end their lives due to economic pressures and poverty, leaving their wives and children unsupported.

According to the photographer, the villages in the area have at least ten households, out of which three or four are female headed, a quite worrying situation.

According to a recent research and as head of strategic studies department of regime’s vice presidency for women and family affairs has acknowledged “Discrimination and inequality, lack of jobs, and lack of social security for women are the three main problems hurting women heads of households, with their other big concerns being lack of freedom and the right to choose, lack of social dignity, poverty, and social deprivations.” (State-run IRNA news agency, January 15, 2017)

These are while the number of women heads of households has turned millions.

According to official figures and as Anushirvan Mohseni-Bandpay, head of regime’s Welfare Organization, points out “there are 3,200,000 women heads of households in the country.” (State-run Mehr news agency, July 12, 2017)

Meanwhile, regime’s MP ‘Tayebeh Siavashi’ says that the number of women heads of households varies and is estimated to be up to five million.” (Regime’s Parliament news agency, August 7, 2017)

According to official figures, the age of these women is decreasing, so that Fahimeh Pirouzfar, director of the task force to empower women heads of households, says that “the average age of women heads of households in Tehran has decreased from 50 to 35-40.”

Most women heads of households live in cities’ marginal areas, without home or a job to earn their livelihood.

Being victims of regime’s plundering and oppression, these women are caught up in a variety of problems, without being subject to any supporting system, so that 82 percent of them are jobless and have no means of earning their families’ livelihood.

Having no other option but being directly involved in doing hard works, women heads of households, particularly in rural areas, lose many of their feminine delicacies and everyday delights.
In addition to a possible paid job, dealing with different housekeeping tasks, keeping livestock and agricultural activities has become part of these women’s lives.

Due to social norms, many of these women refuse to remarry and keep remaining single no matter how they lose their husbands. Many of these women suffer various diseases throughout their middle ages, while they can’t afford a treatment due to lack of social and healthcare support.

On the other hand, their looks and behavior speak strongly of depression, which is also transferred to their daughters and sons, and that’s the poverty’s bitter deliverance.
Many of women heads of households have no children or companion and live their lives alone.

According to 2016 census results, the number of women heads of households who live alone is 1,340,000, half of whom are believed to be all alone.

Source » ncr-iran

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