The head of Women and Family Affairs says women in Iran do not have the necessary tools and resources to escape poverty and empower themselves.

Shahindokht Molaverdi says cultural, social and economic obstacles keep women from improving their situation.

INSA reports that Molaverdi spoke in Tehran at the opening of the Business Fair on Friday January 23, saying women are at greater risk of living in poverty than men.

Molaverdi added that fighting poverty is not just a matter of income; greater self-confidence, self-esteem and social acceptance are also needed in order to fight poverty among women.

She said one major step forward would be to give women equal legal status with men.

Women’s issues remain a controversial topic for the Iranian establishment, and Islamic Republic hardliners are often threatened by demands for equal legal status for both sexes.