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The New Arab Staff

Anger as Iraqi bank offers 'second wife loans' to male employees

Women will be left severely disadvantaged [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2020

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The government-owned Al-Rasheed bank is offering over $8,000 to male employees who wish to take on a second wife.
A government bank in Iraq is offering loans to male employees who wish to take on a second wife, sparking outrage in the country.

Iraqi politician Hanan Al-Fatlawi tweeted on Wednesday that the state Al-Rasheed Bank will grant 10 million Iraqi dinars (US $8,378) to male employees who want to take on a second wife.

"Al-Rasheed Bank decides to grant a marriage advance of (10) million dinars to an employee who marries for the second time!!" she tweeted.

"It is shameful for such a statement to be issued by a respected government bank... and the explanation that was issued to justify the statement is an excuse worse than an act."

Read also: UAE psychologist to train women to 'accept being second wife'

Al-Fatlawi deplored the objectification of women in Iraq - which many saw the loan offer are signifying - saying that "women are not a commodity to be displayed or sold".

Iraqi MP Rizan Sheikh Dleir, called on the country's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to reverse the decision, saying it will lead to widespread protests by women.

"Al-Rasheed Bank's decision to grant the employee a financial advance if he takes up a second wife, is an administrative mistake that makes Iraqi women targeted by the government through the chaos of completely ill-considered decisions and a flagrant violation of women’s rights," she said.

Dleir held the Al-Kadhimi government responsible for the repercussions this decision might have on women, and demanded that he personally intervene and reverse the loan offer, otherwise women-led protests and sit-ins could break-out across Iraq.

She stressed the necessity of directing governmental and private banks towards a policy of employing women and offering loans to help women establish their own businesses.

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