This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Government Matchmaking in Iran Not Likely to Start Many Fires

Yesterday I blogged about Turkey's attempt to generate incentives for women to leave university and have babies. The Economist this week has a companion story about Turkey's next door neighbor, Iran. Although Turkey is predominantly Sunni Muslim and Iran is predominantly Shia Muslim, you wouldn't know the difference from these two stories. The government of Iran is about to launch its own matchmaking site--to encourage women to forsake education and career and become wives and mothers. After all, that's what women are supposed to be doing, right? Not so much.
AT A loss to explain why most youngsters are delaying marriage or altogether shunning the idea of a happy union, Iran’s government is taking action. In Hamedan province, a senior ayatollah recently warned unmarried public workers to find a spouse within a year or risk losing their jobs. A gentler approach, announced in January, is the launch of a matchmaker website which, the government hopes, could lead to as many as 100,000 marriages.
In any case, under-30s, who make up 55% of Iran’s population of 77m, seem far more interested in brief flings than marriage. Hence some 300 “immoral” Western-style dating websites have sprung up of late. Unable to close them all down, the state’s moral guardians have decided to turn matchmaker instead.As in Turkey, it is very unlikely that this latest attempt to get women back into their traditional roles will succeed.
For some, tying the knot has simply lost its appeal. Women make up more than 60% of university students and the better-educated no longer long to be wives first.
As is always true, education changes the way the world works. This is what the Enlightenment has been about--it is what has led to low mortality, which is why we can have low fertility and still have growing populations. It is how women discover that they are not inferior to men, and it is hard to put that genie back in the bottle, no matter how hard Turkey and Iran may try.


  1. indeed!!!!!

    Pete, California

  2. Thanks for doing this blog, very useful.

    ---- ------ From Finland

  3. In the past more marriages had a financial side where the wife needed to be supported by the husband. Now in many countries with women having access to education and jobs this has shifted and this dependence isn't as prevalent. It would be interesting to compare different countries and their marriage rates. I think that between the different cultures we would see some differences.