See for yourself – in 1999, every sixth family in Azerbaijan brought up four or more children; in 2009 – just every12th family. It’s already the end of 2015. So, what are the up-to-date data?
We have asked the public through the Facebook – why is Azerbaijan heading towards the future, where there will be fewer children? The answers have been distributed as follows:
1. Because the state does not support families
When a child is born, a family gets 90 manat (approximately US$ 87) and that’s it! No benefits.
“I am a father of four twins. I was really very glad when they were born! There are three girls and a boy. And we also have a three-year old daughter. But my apartment is just15 sq.m. – one room and a small kitchen. I am a car-washer and it’s an odd job. I’ve just received 90 manat per child. What am I supposed to do? This sum is hardly enough even to cover baby food and diapers costs.
Rashad named his son Ilham after the President, and the daughters – Mekhriban, Leyla and Arzu, after the President’s wife and daughters. He hopes these names will grant children a better fate.
2. Because there are no social benefits
Many survey participants immediately recalled the Soviet times, when the government provided big nice apartments to the families with many children ahead of schedule [for those, who do not remember – it was impossible to buy an apartment in Soviet times, it was provides by state and the queue for an apartment could last for decades – JAMnews]. Mothers with many children enjoyed preferential work schedule and increased salary.
3. Because women are afraid or unwilling to have many children
Gunel Movlud – a mother of a single child, who is less likely to have even the second one. “It’s not the matter of family’s financial standing. An underprivileged woman thinks, she is unable to bring up a child. A well-off woman does not want to lose her beauty, since the body is deformed after childbirth.
4. Because fathers do not help in raising children
Shahla Abusattar Yaman, “Woman is not a machine. She needs to devote some time and pay attention to herself. Whereas in our country all the hardships related to raising a child are laid upon a mother. If men stand ready to equally share the responsibilities, then perhaps women will also start thinking in a different way.
5. Because society shows negligence towards families with many children
Munevver Kazimova, 85, from Zangilan region, is a mother of six children. She is still proud of having a state title of “Mother Heroine. She says, she has had a special document – “a book’ that everybody envied. “Whereas nowadays, many are ashamed even to say that they are from large family. “They are immediately regarded as ‘low-level, – she says.
What shall be done?
Fazil Mustafa, MP: “It is important to change an attitude towards families with many children in the country that is still at war. Benefits certainly need to be increased. But it is equally important to promote the idea of having many children – then youth will start thinking positive about having many children.
The State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs sets a particular task:
1. to restore a “Mother Heroine title for women, who are bringing up 10 or more children under the age of 18;
2. to provide children from large families with free textbooks;
3. to provide children from large families with higher education payment allowances;
4. to allow families with many children get medical drugs free of charge;
5. to make public transport free for them;
6. to provide families with many children with health resort vouchers;
7. to elaborate a preferential mortgage loan system for families with many children.
The authors of this draft, however, have not specified the budget items, at the expense of which the aforesaid proposals shall be funded. Perhaps they do not want to interfere in the Parliament’s affairs, to which the draft has been already submitted for consideration.