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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
In pictures: Iran's working rural women
Iranian woman in fields tending to crop
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BBCPersian.com reader Mohammad Nickahd sent these images of women hard at work on a co-operative farm in the village of Darreh Shahr in Ilam province, western Iran.
Young girl reads schoolwork while walking by fields of crops
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Like many rural areas, the region suffers from poverty, unemployment, and drought...
Two women in fields harvesting crop
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... but new irrigation projects diverted water from a nearby river and enabled 80 farming co-operatives to be set up.
Woman checks her crop
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The UN estimates that women make up around 9% of the membership in such co-operatives, but many more are involved unofficially in the planting, weeding and harvesting of crops.
Worker in hat tends to her crop
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The women often have to work in searing hot temperatures, making sure foodstuffs such as wheat, barley, sugar beet and sugar cane are well tended.
Woman carries foraged food for animals in village
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Women in the village also perform most of the menial tasks, such as collecting and storing foraged food for their livestock...
Woman herding three cows
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... which will prove a precious source of income or food should drought hit the region.
Woman carries young child on her back
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While their mothers are hard at work in the fields, it is left to the grandmothers to watch the younger children...
Young girls standing by their home in Dareh Shahr
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... and to provide food and shelter.
Woman talk with each other while weaving
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And at the end of a hard day, the women still find the time for weaving, which also provides a valuable source of income for many families.



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