Widespread Elimination of Women from Tehran City Administration “for Their Comfort”
A Tehran Municipality manager announced on July 13, 2014 that henceforth all managers in the organization should use male employees in their offices, and the Municipality offices should be segregated by gender. Farzad Khalafi, Deputy Media Director at the Municipality’s Communications and International Center told reporters that “This decision was made for the comfort and welfare of the women so that they would not serve as office managers and secretaries of men.”
“In order to protect the women against familial and social damage, it has been decided that Municipality deputy directors and managers refrain from employing female secretaries and office managers,” Farzad Khalafi emphasized, according to ILNA. “Municipality officials may have to be present in their offices through the night, and they will need their office managers to be present, too, in which case the women may be harmed and hurt and become unable to look after their lives and families,” he added.
Khalafi did not provide any details on how this new decision will affect the employment of women who are currently working in those job categories, and what kind of human resource planning has taken place prior to the decision.
It appears, however, that the decision does have its opponents in the city administration. “Under conditions where an employee is forced to work two shifts in order to provide for his/her family, such limitations will have negative consequences that would lead to propagation of corruption, bribery, and fraud,” said Gholamreza Ansari, a member of the Tehran City Council to ILNA. “Gender segregation has been repeatedly tried in different places such as universities, and it has not been successful,” he added.
Shahindokht Molaverdi, the Rouhani administration’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, said this week that she will be studying this decision before stating the administration’s position on it.