IAPSRS written statement for the 64th session of Commission on the Status of Women by United Nations

The economic sanctions and the livelihood of female-headed households

The economic sanctions that have been justified as a means of pursuing and
advancing human rights goals, in fact, not have only fallen short of these goals but
have led to violations of human rights. This is especially the case for female -headed
households living in deprived neighborhoods. The imposition of the economic
sanctions in the form of trade and financial restrictions tha t have restricted exports
and imports of products, have intensified in recent years against Iran, directly
affecting the livelihoods of female-headed households.
As an organization supporting women and promoting equality and fairness, we
are supporting over 1000 female-headed households in Iran. These women play a key
role in the rural neighborhoods but face poverty and an unsuitable economic status.
Forced to manage households on their own, these women can be divided into three
i. Women whose men are permanently absent, either because women are
widowed or divorced, or because they have not married and are living
ii. Women whose men are temporarily absent due to emigration, escape,
sickness, imprisonment, or military services. These groups of women must
devote their lives to support their families financially.
iii. Women whose men are present, but due to unemployment, disability, or
substance addiction do not provide household income. As a result, women
must take care of the whole family.
Women who are heads of households and living in the suburbs or deprived areas
face many problems for themselves and their children, including the provision of
affordable food, housing, medical services, and the opportunity to educate their
children. In addition, in the suburbs, there are Iranian and immigrant women who for
various reasons, including illegal immigration, are deprived of their identity papers
and are therefore unable to qualify for insurance, which multiplies their problems.
The experience in neighboring countries, including Iraq and Syria has shown
that these sanctions have a direct impact on the quality of life for women and children
in various social, economic, and health dimensions, making it even more difficult to
realize the Sustainable Development Goals.
The economic sanctions limit and eventually stop manufacturing jobs and
reduce other job opportunities. For female-headed households, this means that women
face job losses and unemployment, which may lead them to take up street peddling,
brutality, and prostitution in the suburbs. In addition to the economic impact occurring
broadly throughout society, there is an overwhelming increase in basic living
expenses, especially for health care and food. As the family’s food basket shrinks,
these women become more physically vulnerable due to a lack of proper nutrition. In
many cases they become disabled, which can drive them and their children into severe
Under United Nations law, sanctions should respect the economic, social, and
cultural rights of people. In reality, however, and even with the exemptions announced
by the United Nations, female-headed households confront many difficulties in
securing a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous life for themselves and their children.

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