International Women’s Day was celebrated today at an event organized by the Directorate for the Empowerment of Iraqi Women at the Council of Ministers.

The event, which was supported by UN Women and the International Medical Corps, was attended by senior Iraqi government officials, including the two Deputy Speakers of the Council of Representatives, human rights activists, civil society representatives, the international community and many others.

Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG) Alice Walpole (pictured) addressed the meeting, along with Dr. Mahdi Al-Allaq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, who represented the Prime Minister; Dr. Thikra Alwash, Mayor of Baghdad and Chair of the Standing Committee on the Advancement of Women; UN Women’s Representative, Ms. Dina Zorba and UNFPA Representative, Dr. Oluremi Sogunro; as well as the Director-General of the Directorate for the Empowerment of Iraqi Women, Dr. Ibtisam Aziz.

In her remarks, DSRSG Walpole welcomed the upcoming discussions in Parliament on updating the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. “We need to acknowledge that domestic violence diminishes and shames all of society; it is a threat not just to women but to society itself,” she emphasised.

Reflecting on the challenges facing displaced women across Iraq, DSRSG Walpole noted that “They continue to suffer the brutal consequences of the recent conflict”.

“Female-headed households should be prioritised in accessing public services,” she said, and called on the Ministries of Defence and Interior, and the National Operations Command, to “to ensure that secure clearance mechanisms are coordinated among security actors to minimize re-screening of individuals already screened; and to consider removing security clearance requirements for civilians who have not been charged with a criminal or terrorism-related offence, so they do not face obstacles in accessing public services, including civil registries and courts”.

DSRSG Walpole also noted the high unemployment rate amongst young women, which is double that of men. She called on the government to “offer small business grants to female entrepreneurs to help them into the business arena, in particular to women returnees in the liberated areas, and those heading households”.

“Advancing women’s economic empowerment in this way will contribute to the government’s efforts to achieve national stability,” she noted

(Source: UN)

By Kate Denereaz, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Work is a huge part of our lives. It provides security, meaning and a sense of belonging. It’s part of who we are.

Many AMAR staff, like the people they serve, have been displaced by war and violence. Working for AMAR provides structure and a semblance of normality.

But work means many different things to different people. To mark International Women’s Day, we’re asking some of the women of our workforce, “what does working for AMAR mean to you?

Click here to hear their stories.

(Source: AMAR)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has launched it’s ‘IBBC Women’s Group’, dedicated to empowering and advancing women’s careers and networks across all areas of business in Iraq, the Middle East and Internationally.

Under the Chairmanship of Samar Thamer of AMS Iraq and coordinated by IBBC’s Agne Abramauskaite and Ashley Goodall, the Women’s Group will be organising events, talks and networking opportunities for those who wish to participate in this progressive and exciting new venture.

Background

IBBC Women’s Group primarily wants to encourage and reinforce the role of women’s socio-economic development in the Middle East Region.

We will work with our members to share knowledge and best practice, via networking opportunities, online platforms and events to ensure that standards are raised to benefit women in the ME. We want to encourage men and women to speak up and share the best practice and showcase greater awareness of women’s prospects globally.

IBBC Women’s Group is a part of Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), which facilitates business, trade and investment, for the benefit of the Republic of Iraq and its members, seeking to bring together Iraqi, British and international companies and public sector bodies through a joint platform identifying mutual interests and common goals.

It is a powerful network of some of the most important global corporations as well as key Iraqi and British companies and enjoys the highest-level of support from governments and Global Organisations.

Activities

  • Reinforce measures to promote women in corporate leadership through the IBBC
  • Increase women’s access to mentorship and training opportunities that could led by the companies and academic institutions that are linked with IBBC
  • Support social awareness and promote gender equality at work and communities
  • Create networking, business and mentoring events on and off line
  • Influence the Iraqi government where possible to drive progress towards women’s empowerment

If you have an interest in the IBBC’s Women’s Group and would like to participate, please join our newly created LinkedIn & Facebook groups to keep up to date on activities going forward:

https://www.facebook.com/2241576649458055/photos/2241577296124657/

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8731839/

(Source: IBBC)

The Women’s Advisory Group (WAG) on Reconciliation and Politics, which was established in October 2018 with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), was officially inaugurated on Thursday in Baghdad.

The Group is expected to lobby for the advancement of women’s role in politics and making their voices heard. Women continue to be underrepresented and remain excluded from political and decision-making processes in Iraq despite their active role in society.

The Group comprises 22 members who have been selected in their individual capacities for their skills and experience. They include human rights defenders, media experts, former politicians and civil society activists, and represent a variety of interests, political backgrounds and regions.

In her remarks, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert urged the Government to recognise that broad societal representation in shaping the future of Iraq is necessary to ensure sustainable peace, security and prosperity for all of Iraq’s citizens.

“At present, the inclusion of women and their direct participation in senior decision-making positions remains very limited. We are yet to see women being elected to some of the leading positions; for example, Governors or Chairs of Provincial Councils and let’s not forget a male-dominated Cabinet,” stressed SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert.

She urged Iraq’s senior political leadership, including the government, parliamentary committees, civil society partners and other stakeholders to join UNAMI in drawing on the expertise of the Women’s Advisory Group.

She further called on men interested in becoming male champions in the fight for gender equality to work closely with UNAMI and the Women’s Advisory Group to design the necessary frameworks for women’s inclusion in decision-making structures.

Speaking on behalf of the Women’s Advisory Group, Bushra Alubaidi, a lawyer and human rights activists, highlighted that “participation of women in reconciliation and decision-making in state institutions remains limited in Iraq, despite the fact that the country has adopted national and international frameworks empowering women and ensuring women’s meaningful role in society and the state. The current Council of Ministers is constituted of men only, and it is a rare practice that governmental entities would consult women’s groups on policy decisions and frameworks,” said Ms. Alubaidi.

Participants included the Second Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Mr. Bashir Haddad, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Reconciliation, Mohammed Salman, the Director-General of the Women’s Empowerment Directorate at the Council of Ministers, Dr. Ibtisam Aziz, the head of the Sunni Endowment, Dr. Abdulateef Al-Humeim, Parliamentarians and Members of Provincial Councils, government officials, members of the Judiciary, members of the diplomatic community, as well as civil society activists and academics.

(Source: Reliefweb)

By Sara al-Qaher for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Merger of parliamentary committees further sidelines Iraqi women

There are no easy options for Iraqi graduates who want to continue their education with post-graduate studies.

If they have good grades, they may try to obtain one of the few free spots at a public university in the country. If their grades are not good enough to take that path, they could try to find a private university in Iraq to attend or opt to study abroad, which could be cheaper.

Given this situation, a growing number of post-graduate students are choosing to leave Iraq, bound for neighboring countries or India, where numerous post-graduate programs are taught in English.

Click here to read the full story.

UNFPA and Spain Join Efforts to Enhance Access to Psychosocial and Mental Health Services in Iraq

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) joined efforts with UNFPA to improve access to psychosocial, mental health, and GBV services to women and girls in Iraq through a contribution of €400,000 to the programme.

The conflict in Iraq has had major psychological and emotional consequences on the well-being of women and girls due to the continuous displacement, the traumatic events and the violence experienced.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro (pictured), UNFPA Representative to Iraq, expressed his gratitude for Spain’s support:

The psychological and emotional wounds of war in Iraq have left thousands of women and girls in need of mental health assistance and psychosocial support. The Spanish contribution will enable UNFPA to improve the capacity and access to these much-needed services, including legal support and referrals, to more than 1,800 women and girls in the country.

“This contribution will strengthen UNFPA’s mental health interventions through the improvement of the access to psychologists and counsellors who provide vital care and support for women suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), depression, and severe anxiety.”

Furthermore, the assistance from Spain will ensure the support of the UNFPA-funded survivor centres, Girls and Women Treatment and Support Centres; and Women Community Centres, in particular in improving legal support in hard-to-reach areas of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The role of women in Iraqi society has come under the spotlight as more women assert themselves in all areas of society.

Rights activists have felt those in charge are resisting the change, but 25 percent of Iraq’s parliament are women and activists feel that is crucial as there is still a long way to go before women are treated equally to men.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Baghdad:

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In northern Iraq, several projects are trying to help Yazidi women support themselves and their loved ones after ISIL drove them from their towns and villages into refugee camps.

But as the threat from ISIL has appeared to diminish, so, too, has the funding for the projects. Although the fight against ISIL may be mostly over, many Yazidis are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports from near the Khanke refugee camp in Dohuk, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq:

By Fazel Hawramy for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Shaima was 17 years old and entering her junior year in school in Erbil. Her mother, who was worried about family “honor,” often challenged her daughter in heated discussions.

Eventually, Shaima’s family barred her from going to school. Around 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, the neighbors heard gunshots coming from Shaima’s house.

“This is not your business,” Shaima’s mother, who was outside the house, told concerned neighbors. The family claimed that Shaima had committed suicide, but it soon became evident that her younger brother had murdered her with an AK-47, allegedly over possession of a mobile phone.

When her body was examined, there were gunshots to her hands, head and chest, and it appeared to Erbil police spokesman Maj. Hoger Aziz that, out of her innocence, Shaima had covered her face with her hands thinking that she could protect herself against the bullets from the barrel of her brother’s weapon.

Click here to read the full story.

By Khulood al-Amiry for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Baghdad Policewomen’s Roles Expand as they Rise in Ranks

As in many places, women who work in law enforcement in Iraq have yet to achieve equality with their male counterparts, but they’re making progress.

The Rescue Directorate of the Ministry of Interior deployed Nov. 17 a group of policewomen to patrol the streets of Baghdad and monitor the gates of girls’ schools, colleges, institutes and markets in a bid to combat harassment in public places. That’s just one aspect of their jobs.

Click here to read the full story.