Rising Incomes, Multiple Wives

Salam Jabbar, a human rights activist and researcher with the University of Qadisiyah, told Al-Monitor, “A second marriage in Iraqi society has become an urgent necessity, and the first wife must understand this so as not to force the man to marry in secret.”

Jawad al-Shamari, the media director of Iraq’s Human Rights Commission, spoke to Al-Monitor and criticized the attitude that women are “inferior,” saying, “Inter-gender communication on social networking sites and the rise of employment among men in the private sector boosted the polygamy phenomenon.”

Civil activist and writer Ali Srhan has a different interpretation. He told Al-Monitor that polygamy “is due to the sexual complex suffered by the Iraqis,” saying, “This complex is expressed in different ways when it comes to marriage. In light of the lack of freedoms and social and economic backwardness, marriage options are closer to coercion rather than freedom of choice.”

“It is easier for a man to opt for a second marriage, given the large array of 'aesthetic choices' that have spread with the new means of communication, which offer men in particular a vast multiplicity of temptations,” Srhan said. “This is also due to the fact that women in our society are less willing to serve their husbands [now that they have more economic freedom and independence], in addition to the improved economic situations of some, and the huge number of spinsters who missed the marriage train.”

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