By: UNDP Resident Representative is Islamic Republic of Iran, Claudio Providas, on the occasion of International Women's Day
برای خواندن یاداشت نماینده توسعه ملل متحد به مناسبت روز جهانی زنان اینجا را کلیک کنید
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world, with no regard to social or economic status. Families, households and particularly women, suffered a combination of economic, physical, and emotional stress.
During the pandemic-induced lockdowns, family interactions and livelihoods were impacted. Reduction in income, business losses, having to spend increased time in closer proximity than usual, and the fact that children could attend school gave rise to tensions between family members.
Iran was among the first countries to be hard hit by COVID-19. The pandemic broke out at a time when the nation was still reeling under the impact of the unilateral economic sanctions, and this added to the pressures on daily life, particularly on women.
The participation of Iranian women in the economy post-pandemic declined. The effect of this reduction was worse among Women Head Households (WHH) - and in low-income households headed by women, the situation was even more complicated.
According to Statistical Center of Iran, out of twenty-two (22) million families in Iran, over three (3) million are WHH and most of them are in less-developed areas. The Government prioritised such families for targeting the socio-economic support.
Focus on Women and the multiplier effect
UNDP Iran sprang into action, formulating immediate response initiatives and longer-term recovery plans. Working in close collaboration with the Government to reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, UNDP designed a Rapid Socio-Economic Response (RASER) initiative to support the worst-affected populations, including WHH and vulnerable women in rural and deprived areas. The RASER initiative recognizes the need to combine social protection with home-based income generating activities and other economically sustaining measures.
The initiative is based on an integrated development model and focusses on supply and demand simultaneously. Promoting the circular economy and networks and promoting the use of digitalization are at the core of the response.
Vulnerable women in 100 villages belonging to three provinces were particularly identified under the scheme, implemented in partnership with three main Government agencies – Vice-Presidency for Women and Family Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, and Ministry of Cooperative, Labour and Social Welfare, apart from relevant line ministries such as Ministry of Health and Medical Education, and Provincial Governors.