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Rural Women, Civil Law, Teachers and Nurses, and women’s demands

This is the second part of the May Day Greeting by MaZanan – part 1 was posted on May Day.

“Rural Women and Civil Laws
According to the Organisation of National Statistics, women account for 49.6% of the rural population of 25.5 million. Iranian women have a top role in sections of Iran’s agriculture, which is known to be an arduous field of work, with much associawomen teachers protestted health risk. In addition, these women are engaged in housework, child rearing, looking after the elderly, the daily agricultural work, looking after cattle, forestry, dairy production, rural and handicraft production, weaving rugs, carpets, making thread, harvesting silk, collecting firewood, looking after chickens and poultry, beekeeping and the like. Like their male counterpart, women workers in agriculture do not enjoy any social insurance cover, and long hours of hard work in fields and rice fields threaten their health. It is important to mention that according to the leader of the Islamic Labour Council in the northern province of Gilan, 60% of the province’s agricultural work is carried out by women.
The laws that determine inheritance, have deprive rural women from owning land which they have worked, and their share of inheritance is minimal. This set of discriminations has led to the fact that Iranian women have ownership of only 1% of the agricultural land and men own 99%.

Women in Teaching and Nursing
A large section of our women are employed in the teaching and nursing professions; and according to statistics, out of 14,000 of women teachers in the country are also the head of their household. Given the inflation and astronomical prices, the majority are unable to earn a living wage and are generally living below subsistence level. This section of women have been active in the recent protests and recently, more than 9,000 teachers have collected signatures and petitioned the president and members of parliament, letting them know how they fall short of providing the basic necessities of life and that their earnings does not only fall short in covering rent, loan repayment installments, or food. During the past year, teachers also wrote to Larijani and explained:
“Teachers in this country are tired of praise for the status of knowledge and the value of teachers and are unhappy with the political approach to employment matters; we ask the government to ‘act’. We signatories of this petition ask the members of parliament and the officials of the Islamic Republic to avoid slogans and political propaganda and to respond to the rightful demands of the teaching profession based on providing them with the level of pay that is worthy of a decent life”. The regime has not responded to the protesters’ petition yet.

Demands of Women Workers
Women workers have many common demands as men, including the abolishing of temporary contracts, increase in wages in line with the real rate of inflation, job security, trade union rights, etc. At the same time, women have their specific demands too, among these are:
Equal pay for equal work; provision of nurseries in places of work, job security following maternity leave, outlawing of making women redundant for taking maternity leave, provision of health insurance to all women employees irrespective of whether they have temporary or permanent contracts, putting a stop to the ban on women’s employment in certain jobs and rescinding the requirement for women to wear the Islamic cover (hejab) when this causes a health risk in the work place, provision of training in order to improve skill sets among women workers as with men, providing safety training for women, etc… Finally women demand the end of any form of sex discrimination in employment and law.
Women workers continue to play a significant role in our society, despite all the obstacles that the regime has put before them. Their work is of special importance, because as they see and feel the objective reality of life with the unjust and discriminatory policies of the regime, they will join the rank of those who fight for workers and social rights. We must use this power and capacity for organizing and renewing independent trade unions in order to pave the way to the realization of women’s just demands.”
MaZanan 1st May 2015.

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