Iran’s clothing stores and factories were issued a written order to stop the production and selling of clothes that are not in line with the current strict female dress code. Shops have been told to clear their shelves of any items that do not fall in line with the dress code. Some traders have reported being raided by police sent there to stop the production and sale of “immoral coats,” reports Reuters. The Iranian female dress code states that women should wear long, loose-fitting black coats. Iranian women have recently been wearing shorter, lighter colored coats that fall to the knee, reports BBC News. According to Reuters, the recent crackdowns follow protests led by conservatives against women who are not following the dress code.
Many aspects of life for women in Iran are still heavily restricted. Women in Iran are still unable to work or travel without a husband’s permission, and their testimony in court is only worth half of a man’s. Some laws, though not often enforced, are still on the books; for example, a woman in Iran is not permitted in public with a man who is not related to her. In addition, despite the social and political progress toward a better status for women, Iran is still among the countries, including the United States, that have not ratified the UN Women’s Treaty (CEDAW), adopted by the UN in 1979.
Despite this recent order to stop the production of clothes that stray from the code, there have been some improvements in women’s rights since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Today 65 percent of the university entrants and 46 percent of teachers are women. While in the 1980s women were denied the right to divorce their husbands and obtain custody of their children if divorced, in 1999 the Iranian parliament passed a law allowing custody of minor children to the mother in divorce cases if it was deemed that the best interest of the child would be served. Iran also recently gained its first woman vice president among seven in President Khatami’s cabinet, Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, who is in charge of the Environmental Department.