Special support for women on agenda

December 7, 2020 - 17:43

TEHRAN – The national budget bill for the next [Iranian calendar] year (March 2021-March 2022) has been prepared in a way to support and pay special attention to women, especially female heads of households, rural women, and artisans.

The proposed national budget amounted to about 24.357 quadrillion rials (about $580 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials), with a 20-percent rise from the current year’s approved budget.

Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar has said the budget for women’s and family affairs has increased by 33 percent, reaching up to 320 billion rials (nearly $7.6 million), with remarks suggesting special support for women.

One of these remarks refers to special financial support for rural households and the other to the issue of childbearing, as families whose third child is born this year or next year will receive low-interest housing loans.

Attention is paid to the insurance of women heads of households and the insurance of handicraftsmen and carpet weavers, in which women play a prominent role.

The bill has envisaged public resources and expenditures, the budget of state-owned companies as well as the budget for various government bodies.

Supplying basic goods, treatment, and medical equipment; securing livelihood; supporting production and employment; promoting and supporting non-oil exports and knowledge-based companies are the focal points of the bill.

Major steps taken

In Iran, there are 3 million women-headed households (WHH), out of a total of 22 million families, and most of the WHH can be found in less developed areas of the country, according to the UNDP office in Iran.

COVID-19 adds additional challenges for economically empowering WHH in Iran, meaning that innovative strategies are needed.

Ebtekar said in October that the government has taken major steps for the advancement of women and families in Iran. “Through an inter-sectoral process, we developed national indicators for gender equity, which laid the ground for the first result based Plan for Women and Family Advancement in 31 provinces and we recently launched the dashboard for monitoring indicators on gender equity and family prosperity.”

“Based on our review of legislation on women and family, we have proposed 10 new bills including the bill on the Protection of Women's Security Against Violence and several new laws,” the vice president added.

“At least 2700 women-focused NGOs are active in Iran and we have plans for the empowerment of civil society activities, we have successfully implemented schemes like enhancing social resiliency, also the economic empowerment of thousands of women heads of the household through micro-credit Funds and Cooperatives,” she added.

She went on to highlight that the family is the cornerstone of human development, through the National Family Dialogue scheme. “We have taken an initiative to empower civil society in dialogue skills to enable family and social cohesiveness. The International Center for Family Dialogue has been recently launched in Tehran.”

In the field of legislation, finalizing the bill to ensure the security of women against violence, which can play an important role in combating domestic violence, the implementation of the plan granting Iranian citizenship to children born to Iranian women and non-Iranian men, and the bill banning the marriage of girls under 13, has been among the government's efforts, she concluded.

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