Iraqi women worse off since US invasion


This video is called U.N. Says Iraqi Women Are Worse Off.

A video from 2006 which used to be on the Internet said about itself:

A compelling account of a life inside Iraq that is rarely seen on news bulletins: stories of ordinary women whose struggle to survive has only worsened since the war. The invasion of Iraq heralded promises of freedom from tyranny and equal rights for the women of Iraq.

But three years on, the reality of everyday life for women inside Iraq is a different story. To make this film, two Iraqi women risk their lives to spend three months travelling all over the country with a camera to record the lives and experiences of women they meet.

Translated from Judit Neurink in Belgian daily De Standaard:

A society for men

Report: Violence against women in Iraq is horribly high

Saturday, December 31, 2011, 3:00

BAGHDAD – They are the majority, but are suppressed and ignored. The position of women in the once modern Iraq ever since 2003 only worsened. And an upward trend is hard to observe.

From our correspondent in Iraq

“When I walk the streets without a headscarf, cars will stop and I will be called a bad woman.” Raqaa (21) indignantly shakes her long brown hair and smiles conspiratorially as she pronounces the synonym for whore. Together with her friend Sarah (21) she is one of the few female students on the grounds of the University of Baghdad with no headscarf. She has just been expelled from a lecture because she wears no skirt under her long shirt, but leggings. She is furious about this “mandatory uniform”. “This is not democracy.”

Raqaa and Sara are studying political science at Baghdad University.

Many young women want to escape from bondage. Raqaa’s friend Rusul will go to Germany soon to marry. “Ich liebe dich”, she tries to laugh at her new language. The group of girls who have gathered around them giggles. Sara wants to go to relatives in Sweden, but her parents will not let her go. Had she been a boy, they would have encouraged her.

‘In Europe they have women’s rights, where women are respected’ the students name as a reason for their departure. “I would like to change my country, but I have little hope,” sighs Raqaa.

The stories of the students illustrate the situation for women in Iraq, where the years of violence have had great influence on their freedoms, opportunities and circumstances. Research among young people shows that most of them accept that fathers and brothers decide on the lives of young women: they determine whether they marry, and who, if she studies and works, and whether they are traveling. The honor of the woman has again become an issue; on the university campus, boys and girls form separate groups between which there is no visible contact. Of the Iraq of the seventies, with its miniskirts and equal rights for men and women, little is left.

“And after 2003 again the women were victims.” …

Women are, as a result of the death of many men in violence, a majority of sixty percent in Iraq. And their problems are legion. Unequal treatment, domestic violence, a millon and a half to two million widows who need to survive. Yet, the Iraqi women get little help. According to Al-Amily aid agencies hardly do anything. The 25 percent women quota in parliament means little as those women do what the party tells them to. A few women try in vain to get secular women’s issues on the agenda. There is a Minister for Women, but she has little budget and certainly no vision, laments Al-Amily. “We want a real minister, not a Stepford wife.”

Patriarchal

The same minister has indicated that having a law against domestic violence is not necessary, Hanaa Edwar reminds us. This human rights activist of the independent organization Al-Amal (The Hope), receives us in the Baghdad building of the organization. … After spending a year in a commission about such a law against domestic violence, she met the Minister for Women at a conference in Erbil in Kurdish Iraq. “She thinks that a man is allowed beat his wife. She is pro-polygamy. If you have women like that in key positions, what can you expect?”

She tells of a ten-year-old girl that was forced to marry, and was discarded after two months. … “The minimum marriage age for women is fifteen years, but if you get permission from a judge you may marry previously. And you will get that permission.” She sighs: “The judges should be trained. Since 2008 we have sixteen workshops organized for them, but their mentality is still tribal and patriarchal.”

Shame

She cites the example of a well-educated woman of 55, mother of three children, who traveled by bus and after she became the last remaining passenger, was raped by the driver. “Most women would not report that, rape is a violation of their honor. But she did, for he had laughed at her. “It is shameful for you, not for me, and this is not my first time,” he said. ” With great difficulty the woman managed to have the man prosecuted. “Then a judge let him go scot free for lack of evidence.”

The “honour” issue leads to murders and suicides. Fathers and brothers kill women about whom they think that they have affected their honor. Or they force them to commit suicide – the number of suicides among young women is rising throughout Iraq.

According to Edwar a major role in this is played by greatly increased illiteracy – “we estimate it at forty percent, and even higher among women” – besides the central role of the family in the Iraqi society. Besides illiteracy campaigns and measures to empower women to improve, it is important for women to regain their self-awareness, advocates Edwar. “Women should speak out. Also against the family.”

Glenn Greenwald Exposes the Notion That the United States Engages in War to Establish Democracies: here.

A public inquiry into allegations that British troops murdered up to 20 Iraqis and tortured others may not get under way until the summer, the victims’ lawyer has predicted: here.

3 thoughts on “Iraqi women worse off since US invasion

  1. Pingback: NATO bigwigs in Iraq torture scandal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Stop religious oppression in Iraqi Kurdistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Young Iraqi woman painter interviewed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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