Female Workers “New Slavery” Working Conditions In Iran


As Iranian workers continue to face grim conditions that do not comply with any international norms or standards, the grave situation of female workers in Iran can be readily conceived since women are systematically discriminated against in the Iranian Regime’s law, employment and job market, and in every other realm of life.

International Labour Day on May 1st is an occasion to defend the rights of workers, but female workers in Iran not only do not enjoy their minimum rights on this day, their condition at work is best described as “new slavery” where even their most basic rights are systematically violated and there is no equal pay, no job security and no insurance for female workers in addition to hiring discrimination.

In light of such torturous conditions for all Iranian workers, the main problems of female workers in Iran could include:

• Low Wages: Women often toil in factories for 10 to 12 hours, earning only a dollar a day, which is a third below the minimum wage and seven times below the poverty line. Those who do not have a specific employer are ripped off by intermediaries who sell their products.

• Unequal Pay: Female workers work in step with men in production units, but do not receive equal wages. They are not aware of their legal rights. Therefore, they do not even find out if their insurance has been considered in their payrolls. But they do not file any complaints in this regard since they fear being fired by their employers.” according to Fatemeh Pourno, Secretary of the Union of Women Workers in Qazvin (a state institution).”

• Inferior Jobs: Iranian law systematically discriminates against women and gives preference to men in employment and other arenas. so women are often able to take only non-monitored and unofficial workshop jobs with much lower wages. High unemployment rate and poverty hitting the society, in addition to systematic discrimination against women in work place, force them to take whatever job they can to support their families.

• No Insurance or Premiums: 80% of those without insurance in Iran are women because they are more likely to be in unstable jobs where employers do not pay benefits or insurance.

• Lack of Job Security: Women are the first to be laid-off the work in economic crises because employers believe that they are less productive because of (potential) marriage and pregnancy. Two-thirds of those unemployed in Iran are women.

• Lack of supportive laws: Absence of supportive laws for female workers and common use of semi-legal contracts have made work conditions way more difficult for women compared to men. In addition, many women are forced to take tough jobs which place double pressure on their body and do not match their physical capabilities.