Islamic Republic Police Chief Khalil Helali told reporters on Sunday that women are prohibited from working in coffee shops and traditional cafes.
The Etemad daily reports that according to Helali, women can obtain licences to run coffee shops but they will still need to hire male advisers because the presence of women in coffee shops is prohibited even if they hold the permit.
Helali’s statements are being challenged by legal experts, who maintain that there is no legislation banning women from employment in coffee shops.
Legal expert Nemat Ahmadi told ILNA: “The constitution as the highest legal document of the state prohibits any form of gender discrimination, and under labour legislation, women are only prevented from performing harsh and unendurable work.”
At the fourth National Women’s Conference last December, the rate of economic participation for employed and educated women in the country was pegged at 13.7 percent. This rate has increased by only 1.8 percentage points in the past 35 years.
Unemployment among women even in Tehran, with the country’s highest concentration of industrial, administrative and service industry jobs, was reported at 21.6 percent in 2013.