Some 300 women entrepreneurs have emerged in Iran as a result of social policies fostered for the past eight years and launched by civil initiatives, according to officials.
The Women Empowerment Center in Iran, supported by the Tehran Municipality, provides a three-year training program for women who have lost their partners or are divorced and in need to support their families.
“The Women Empowerment Center in Iran holds facilities in 22 different regions. The center has trained 17,000 women in the last eight years. Some 13,000 of them finished their training and 4,000 of them still continue the program. Among them, 300 women employers emerged and are doing their own businesses in Iran,” the president of the center, Fahimeh Firouzfar, told daily Hürriyet during a recent press tour.
“First, we train and then we supply the work opportunity. We register the whole family into the system. We also keep track of the daughters and sons of the women who have lost their partners. If the daughter of the family gets married, her consultancy still continues for five more years. The plan [of our consultancy] includes the family as a whole. We can see how many people live in an area through the information we register,” said Firouzfar.
“Women come here for training and consultancy. We check if applicants have talent or not when they apply for the program. The women must be insured during the training period. We rented the venue from the municipality and this venue can be taken back from us if we do not insure the women within the three months,” she said.
She added that there are also other women who come to the center to find the workers to whom they can give work. She said the women applicants in the center have the telegram mobile application and other people can get in contact with them through this medium.
There are also programs shorter than three years in the center tailored especially for those who cannot leave their homes. These courses mainly consist of designing in silver and textile.
Female taxi drivers
A second association in Iran which helps women in the country is the Imam Khomeini Aid Association.
Its president, Fatma Rehber, said they signed a special agreement with a factory that produces automobiles in attempt to supply vehicles for women who want to work as taxi drivers.
“Women can choose to call female taxi drivers. They also prefer women drivers on school buses. We put the certificate as a condition when they want to buy a car. We also check the psychological health of the applicants before we agree with them. Female drivers are allowed to work in their own city,” Rehber said.
According to the agreement with the car factory, the association is set to buy 5,000 cars and pay 33 percent of each car’s value, leaving the rest of the amount to be paid by the women drivers.
Apart from carrying out projects to provide women with jobs, the association also directly deposits money in disadvantaged people’s bank accounts and do housing benefits as well as renovate old houses in villages.
Some 66 percent of the aid association’s budget is subsidized by the government, with the rest coming from donations.
Rehber said they supported 3 million people so far, 60 percent of whom are women while 1,200,000 of them were elderly men.