Equal Pay for Women
From the Campaign’s Site in Ilam
Monday 7 July 2008
By: A Campaign Activist in Ilam Province
Translated by: Sussan Tahmasebi
After the initial steps of collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition from friends my own age, I started discussing our demands with family members. I asked my grandmother who lives in a village first. I read the statement of the petition of the Campaign for her. She began to think about it and then responded by saying: "I don’t have any of the demands that you mention." I asked her why and she replied: "I am not nine years old [to worry about the age of criminal responsibility], I don’t have any quarrels with anyone, and many years have passed since my marriage at the age of 12…"
I responded by saying: "Well, grandmother then what is it that you want?"
She responded by saying: "for years I worked with your grandfather, god rest his sole, on this land, without any complaints. I worked in his house, but I did not have any rights. In all the rights that you mention, which you are demanding in the petition of the Campaign, why have you overlooked the rights of women who work in the home or in the field, or in workshops? I am currently working in the fields, but why is it that I get paid less than a 14 year old boy, despite the fact that I am much more experience? It is obvious to me that this statement has been written by those who don’t know what it’s like to work."
I explained to her that: "this statement is reflective of the demands of a large group of women. Even if working women’s rights are not included in this statement, there are other issues of great importance, which are included. You should think about the future of the younger generation of women across Iran, and you should support their demands by signing the petition." She thought about what I had said for a bit, and asked for the petition. She looked at it again and asked that it read it completely. When I reached the section where those signing the petition get to identify their legal priority area, she said: "write down equal pay for women."