Feminism Friday - What happened to women's rights in Iraq?
Iraqi women's rights activist Yanar Mohammed, founder of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, spoke on Fresh Air - it's horrifying and heartbreaking. Iraqi women are being kidnapped off the streets and forced into sexual slavery, then dumped. Then their families often kill them because of misguided concepts of family "honor." The American occupation forces have refused requests to protect women's rights activists who are getting death threats. Listen to it, Bush doesn't want you to hear the truth about what he did. You too, Laura.
Iraq used to be one of the most progressive countries in the Arab world for women's equality. But now? Islamic extremists are bullying Iraqi women out of their jobs.
BAGHDAD, 30 May 2007 (IRIN) - When Suha Abdel-Azim, 38, received a letter from her boss saying she had to stop working for security reasons, she couldn't believe it. After three years as an engineer for a local company, she was fired without compensation.
"I was shocked when they told me I was being fired. I was an excellent worker and had done many fantastic and profitable projects but they didn't want a woman with them any more. They tried to explain, saying it was too dangerous for the company to employ women: the company had received threats," Suha said.
"I tried to convince them that I could work from home. I have two children to bring up, and have been alone since my husband was killed by insurgents in 2004 for working for a foreign company, but in vain. They just sent me home," she said.
Suha is now unemployed. She has been trying to find a job but as a woman she is finding it difficult.
"When they see my cv [curriculum vitae] they get excited but later they say they cannot employ me because I'm a woman and it could be too dangerous for them. Most of the local construction companies in Iraq now have only men working for them," she said.
Unemployment affects children
"In about 14 percent of families in Iraq women are the main breadwinners, and often they care for a large number of children. The increase in unemployment among them just means more children without support," said Sarah Muthulak, a spokeswoman for the Baghdad-based Women's Rights Association (WRA).
Ms. magazine reports on the "Talibanization of Iraq."
Bush in effect has turned Iraq over to the extreme Islamists, as though a consolation prize for routing them out of Afghanistan. Trotting out Laura to propagandize women for his invasion hasn't fooled anyone either. No sooner has one really serious situation for women been dealt with, than a possibly worse one is created--because Iraq's population is much larger than Afghanistan's. I want to encourage my fellow feminists to keep agitating about about this the way we did against the Taliban. Although what can be done to help Iraqi women now?
(Thanks to elorie for putting out the word about Feminism Friday.)