Other State Initiatives
In addition to the Plan to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, other state initiatives imposing ultraconservative views that significantly limit women’s ability to participate in public life have been put forward as well. Most of these legislative actions were initiated under the previous Ahmadinejad administration, and none have yet fully become law, as there are still procedural steps that must be navigated.
Nevertheless, increasingly strident efforts to transform hardline views on women into the law of the land reflect a systematic state effort to impose further restrictive and discriminatory policies onto Iranian women at large. The overriding policy imperative has been consistent: women’s place is in the home; her role is of wife and mother; she should not participate fully in professional, academic or other public realms; and she must adhere to conservative interpretations of Islamic attire and behavior in public. These legislative actions are in violation of international and Iranian laws prohibiting gender-based discrimination.
The Preservation of Chastity and Hijab Plan
Currently under review in Parliament, is the Preservation of Chastity and Hijab Plan. Introduced in October 2014, this bill is largely concerned with enforcing conservative Islamic dress for women in public, but also includes employment limitations for women.
As reported in the Etemad newspaper, if Parliament passes the plan, women police officers will warn “women who offend the public chastity with their inappropriate and un-Islamic hijab. These women will have to take educational classes (in public chastity) and pay between 200,000 to one million tomans (about $60 to $300) in fines.”
According to the Shargh newspaper, “Article Two refers to a section of administrative regulations, in which the improper hijab of government employees is addressed, and adds that those who violate this regulation will receive a written warning in their employment record. If their violation is repeated they will lose up to one third of their salary, overtime, and other pay for a period of one to twelve months.”
The plan also includes gender segregation initiatives and limitations on women’s work hours. As reported in Etemad, the plan requires that “Women employed in retail should not mix with men. These women should work during conventional hours, meaning 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If a retailer violates this provision it will be shut down for a week. If the violation is repeated, the business will be closed for one month.”
This bill is still under review in the Judicial Committee of the Parliament; it has not yet been approved or sent to the floor for a vote.