The current Iranian parliament is only 5.7% female. Even those women who are MPs are from the fundamentalist faction, which is controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and therefore represent misogynous attitudes and cruel policies.
It’s therefore no surprise that they supported the Population Growth and Family Support Plan, which effectively marginalises women by making them stay home to have and raise children in order to raise the birth rate to at least 2.5 children per woman.
Fatemeh Mohammad Beigi, a member of the Presidium of the Parliamentary Health Commission, called it “among the best laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran in history”, but its really just a way for authorities to keep young women at home and away from protests that could spell the overthrow of the dictatorship. (The government has systematically failed to help women over the past four decades, which is why so many of them are rebelling against the mullahs.)
Worse still, 80% of Iranians live in poverty. How can they keep their heads above water with more mouths to feed?
After all, even if the plan requires the government to use its own facilities to provide housing or land to families with three or more children, there’s still a shortage of five million housing units
Mohammad Eslami, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, said: “Statistics show that the number of houses is greater than the number of households. However, housing distribution has major drawbacks. In the meantime, poverty is gradually rising in a society in which people cannot afford to buy or rent a house.”
Low-income families with one or two children will also be worse off in terms of energy costs, taxes, subsidies, tariffs, stimulus payments, wages, and insurance premiums, to name just a few. The promises on maternity leave, job security, and support packages sound great but they don’t gel with the history.
Additionally, article 28 of the bill warns against the promotion of any program that conflicts with population increase and advises that these be changed to help support an increased birth rate. Although, as an important reminder, without programs to improve healthcare, education, and lift people out of poverty, this scheme is flawed from the start.
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “It seems that Parliament’s real role is to maintain Khamenei’s full sovereignty and hegemony. In this regard, women, who are the first victims of this misogynistic regime and suffer the most repression, should stay at home and lose their influence in the protests. This will never happen.”