Doc links male child preference to gender imbalance in Iran’s population 

June 14, 2022 - 18:35

TEHRAN – Iranian director Hayedeh Moradi has made a documentary that shows Iranians’ quest for male children has upset the gender balance of the total population in the country.

The documentary entitled “Sonography” has focused on the northwestern Iranian province of Ardebil, where Moradi made her previous acclaimed documentaries “Snowy Roofs” and “Snowy Roads”, the Experimental, Documentary and Animation Film Center, the producer of the film, announced in a press release.

Studies show that the ratio of male to female births is 109:100 in the province. Moradi said that these research findings can be generalized to other provinces, and the imbalance will cause serious problems in the country.

Preference for male children is an ongoing practice in Ardebil as Moradi has witnessed some women among her relatives have decided to have an abortion after they learned that their children are female following a gender test.

According to her research, women seeking abortions are categorized into two groups, one of which is made up of women with higher education who marry late in life. They do not have sufficient child-bearing years remaining to let them think about having more than one child. Therefore, they seek male children in their sole opportunity for having a child.

The second group is made up of women living in lower-class families. Due to their gender, they are deprived of any basic human rights. They do not want to give birth to female children who may experience similar deprivations in the future.

Moradi had hired a pregnant woman to appear in her documentary for paying the cost of her hospitalization and other necessities for the supervision of a normal pregnancy.

Following strong opposition from her husband, the woman withdrew from the project three months after working for the documentary. 

Due to her husband’s desire for a male child, she wanted to have an abortion if her child was female. Her husband wanted the abortion to be done without any intervention from others.   

Moradi hopes that her documentary can change people’s attitudes toward the gender of their children. “The minor issue the documentary intends to point out is that people with a strong desire for male children will face a problem in finding a wife for their children in the near future.”

Moradi is also the director of the documentary “Snowy Roofs”, which centers on the experiences of Najibeh Abbaspur, Zahra Morovvati and Soghra Babazadeh, delving into the lives of these women who live in a village in Ardebil that has no men. 

Since there are no jobs to be found there, men leave to find work in cities and eventually marry. Only women remain in the village, surrounded by loneliness, the bitter cold, and the crippling unemployment.

She has also made “Snowy Road” about the obstacles in way of girls trying to go to school in the rural regions in Iran’s Azarbaijan.

Photo: Hayedeh Moradi directs a scene from her latest documentary “Sonography”.


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