Women in the Work and Poverty Trap in Iran

  • Haleh Afshar


The stated ideology of domesticity that is part and parcel of the Islamic Government’s employment and social policies has direct and severely adverse effects on women, especially those who are too poor to afford the luxury of full-time domesticity. The current constitution nominates men as heads of household and responsible for the welfare of the family. Thus, by definition, women have become second-class citizens who must be morally protected by and financially dependent on men who are the designated providers and protectors. Those women who are not supported by a male breadwinner have become the lowest strata of second-class citizens. They have been defined as bisarparastan (the ‘unprotected’) by the constitution and are supposed to be dependent on the State. But despite its legal obligation to provide for this group, the Government has yet to make any provisions to do so. As a result the poorest and low-income women are of necessity obliged to fend for themselves and secure a livelihood for their family as best they can. But they do so in the context of a general condemnation of all women working outside the domestic sphere. The ‘unprotected’ carry the double burdens of poverty and ideological antagonism.


Informal Sector Domestic Work Maternity Leave Woman Worker Poverty Trap 
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Copyright information

© Haleh Afshar and Bina Agarwal 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haleh Afshar

There are no affiliations available

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