Financial Tribune- Despite the low rate of employment for women in Iran there are some fields where women make up a high percentage of the workforce and earn a competitive salary.
The rate of economic participation of Iranian women is one of the lowest in the world as the country ranks 141 among 145 countries in the latest Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum.
Only 3.5 million Iranian women are salaried workers, compared with 23.5 million men, as per official figures. However, women seem to have found a way around the existing gaps.
A quick overview of the job market in the country highlights jobs in which women frequently work. Here are some jobs that have good working conditions, and pay well in return.
Beauty salons have become one of the most lucrative jobs for Iranian women with or without a professional degree, with a choice of an array of jobs from makeup artist and esthetician to professional stylist.
With a female population of more than 39 million, Iran is the second-largest cosmetics market in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, and the world’s seventh biggest.
Suffice to say this guarantees a beautician a minimum of 30 million rials ($860) per month, way above the average university-educated office worker in the country where the minimum wage is around 8 million rials ($230) per month.
“The monthly income of a beautician could surge to around 120 million rials ($3,500) a month if they are able to afford a salon and recruit other specialists in various areas,” says a professional in the field, reports the Mazandaran-based news agency ‘bloghnews.com’.
Highest Pay for GPs
One of the highest-paying jobs is that of a general physician. It is only one of the many healthcare occupations that bring women a large paycheck. A number of well-paying healthcare jobs feature high concentrations of women.
More than 90% of nursing practitioners and less than half of the general physicians are women. There are over 140,000 general and specialized physicians in the country, according to the National Medical Council.
The average monthly income of a specialist varies between 120 and 150 million rials ($3,500-$4,300) per month, while the minimum salary of a nurse, a profession at the lower end of the healthcare system, is 25 million rials ($715), according to the Health Ministry’s spokesperson Iraj Harirchi.
Being a lawyer is also an attractive prospect for women. One of the best aspects of being an attorney is the satisfaction and reward that comes from the substantive work itself.
Lawyers are needed in matters such as women’s divorce, which is a growing problem, cases of inheritance, disputes over property ownership, etc, and their minimum annual income starts from 800 million rials ($23,000).
“Being a woman lawyer is very satisfactory because women feel more comfortable with their own gender, and would prefer to choose a female lawyer to fight their case,” says M. Asgari, attorney at law.
Photography and photo retouching is also becoming a profitable business especially when it comes to weddings which are usually lavish in Iran and couples are prepared to pay well for professional photographers and videographers. There are several women in this field.
Many private institutions teach how to use a camera and work with editing tools. Even though the fee charged is high for the training courses it pales next to the high earnings in the business.
The packages offered by photo ateliers for an entire wedding range from 100 million rials to over 200 million rials ($2,800). And photographing your baby’s first birthday could cost as much as 50 million rials ($1,500).
Banking & Teaching
Although only about 24% of employees in all banks in the country are women, the job is one of the most sought after among women due to job security and stable pay and added benefits such as access to loans.
Annually, thousands of women register to take part in job entrance exams held by a large number of banks across Iran.
The private Karafarin Bank established in 2001 has the highest rate (49%) of female employees.
In public banks, the Bank of Industry and Mine with 32.3%, the Export Development Bank of Iran with 22.6% and Post Bank with 22.4% are the ones with the highest numbers of female staff.
The average income of a female bank teller begins at 20 million rials ($550), and increases with promotions up to 100 million rials ($2,800) for branch managers.
Around 33% of Iran’s female labor force is in professional jobs, concentrated in education, healthcare and social services. Slightly over half of all teachers in Iran are women, but the proportion of female university teaching staff is 20%.
Of the 1.1 million teachers employed by the Education Ministry, nearly 532,000 are female teachers and staff.
In 2014, the minimum wage for teachers was about $200 per month, and this figure reached $400 in September 2015.