BAGHDAD — Iraqi women sharply criticised societal restrictions placed upon them in events marking International Women's Day on Thursday, arguing they were second-class citizens in male-dominated Iraq.
Officials attempted to highlight apparent progress made by women since now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003.
But activists and attendees at separate events organised by the government and a coalition of civil society groups said women in Iraq faced massive challenges.
"Iraqi women suffer marginalisation and all kinds of violence, including forced marriages, divorces and harassment, as well as restrictions on their liberty, their education, their choice of clothing, and their social life," said Hanaa Edwar, head of the charity Al-Amal ('Hope' in Arabic).
Edwar was one of the organisers of a conference on violence against women in central Baghdad's Karrada district.
"Our society is heading towards a deterioration when it comes to women's rights, and it will take many years to improve the situation," Ines Abdulsattar, a 31-year-old employee at the Iraqi foreign ministry, told AFP at the conference. . . .
Until the 1980s, Iraqi women were widely considered to have more rights than their counterparts across the Middle East, but they have suffered in the face of brutal violence, Islamist extremism, and a run-down education system.
Overall violence has declined since it peaked in 2006 and 2007, but Iraqi women remain victims of violence, trafficking, forced marriage at a young age, and kidnapping for confessional or criminal reasons, NGOs say. (Read more.)
Friday, March 9, 2012
Women Fighting for Human Rights in Iraq
Western Muslims would be happy to speak out on behalf of their oppressed sisters in Iraq, but they're too busy complaining about Islamophobia.