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HRW releases report highlighting workplace bias against women in Iran

Published: Updated:

Human Rights Watch released a report lambasting laws and policies that discriminate against women interfere with Iranian women’s right to work.

Women confront an array of restrictions, such as on their ability to travel, prohibitions on entering certain jobs, and an absence of basic legal protections, the report said.

The 59-page report titled “‘It’s a Men’s Club’: Discrimination Against Women in Iran’s Job Market,” examines in detail the discriminatory provisions and insufficient protections in Iran’s legal system that represent obstacles to women’s equal access to the job market.

Over the past four decades, Human Rights Watch said, Iranian women have become half of the country’s university graduates. But, based on the most recent official statistics available, for the period between March 2016 and March 2017, only 14.9 percent of Iran’s women are in the workforce, compared with 64.1 percent of men. This rate is lower than the average of 20 percent for all women in the Middle East and North Africa. The unemployment rate for women, currently 20.7 percent, is double that for men.

“Iranian women’s achievements in higher education demonstrate their capability and passion to be equal partners in building a better country, but discriminatory laws are holding them back,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities have started to acknowledge these problems, but they should take the necessary steps to remove the barriers that are pushing women to the margins of the workforce.”

Read the full report here.