PGN

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Appendix I

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The findings of the preparatory meetings


  • "Pre-roundtable Discussion on PGN" during the Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington DC, November 2008.
    This roundtable was attended by academics and practitioners. Of many suggestions and recommendations the following stand out: a) though often it is assumed that the North possesses the ultimate knowledge and expertise and has to export it to the South, this is not only inaccurate but can create problems of acceptance in the South and lead to resistance by local people; b) due to the high concentration of Afghan refugees in Iran, the topic of female Afghan refugees is of pressing importance; c) some initiatives in Iran have succeeded not only as charity but have managed to provide training for special groups of women such as runaway girls in Tehran; d) sanctions against Iran are having a devastating effect on women's economic status in that country.

  • Discussion of Female Heads-of-Households, Center for Population Research, Tehran, December 2008.
    The panelists highlighted that female-headed households (FHH) in Iran are a group particularly vulnerable to the impact of troubles in the global economy and declines in the price of oil. According to official data, FHH constitute around 9% of all households in Iran. The actual numbers could be higher since with the rampant rate of addiction and substance abuse among men, women could be de facto heads of households, despite the presence of a husband. Drug addiction among men is also high in Afghanistan, which has become the world's leading producer of opium. Combined with war and conflict, this has forced families to rely on women's income while the official and hidden female unemployment rates remain high.

  • Conference on Iranian Economic Empowerment and Economic Sanctions: An Exit Strategy, Tehran, Chamber of Commerce, December 2008.
    The conference was organized and supported by the Iranian Women Entrepreneurs' Council (IWEC). It brought together members of IWEC from different parts of Iran as well as academics and members of advisory committees to national policymaking bodies. Several papers delivered at the conference discussed aspects of the impact of sanctions on female entrepreneurs and their coping strategies. The conference ended by passing resolutions highlighting the role of economic experts, particularly female economists and entrepreneurs, in dealing with the impact of sanctions at the national, provincial, and local levels.

  • Meeting among existing PGN members at Hamyaran.
    This meeting provided useful background information on PGN activities and reiterated the importance of establishing a network among interested groups. The Hamyaran meeting highlighted the need to work at community levels to increase the voice of women in decision making and in allocation of resources, as a means to ensure that women's economic needs are appropriately reflected in local policies and designs.