WEEKLY STANDARD | 17.06.2015
Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran even...
stopfgmmideast | 20.05.2015
Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: Paying a visit to a Mullah who promoted FGM
The shock was great when the Iraqi Kurdish Xelk Media Network reported about a Kurdish Mullah...
THE TELEGRAPH | 04.03.2015
"If they mutilate my granddaughter? I’ll kill them’. Meet Iraqi village ending FGM
Amirah vividly recalls the day she was taken into a bathroom by the village midwife and forced to...
biomedcentral | 06.02.2015
The diversity of Kurdish women’s perspectives of female genital mutilation
The 6th February is marked by the United Nations sponsored awareness day, International...
WADI | 10.02.2015
International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Kurdistan Parliament
Wadi, UNICEF and the High Council of Women Affairs launched an event about how...
stopfgmmideast | 05.02.2015
Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: We need more campaigns in Asia
On the fifth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM)...
WADI | 02.02.2015
Four new TV-spots Wadi has produced supported by UNICEF
as part of the ongoing campaign to eliminate FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan. These spots will be aired by different TV stations...
WEEKLYSTANDARD | 20.01.2015
Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a...
ORCHIDPROJECT | 17.12.2014
KMEWO Event on FGC
On November 13th 2014, the Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation (KMEWO)...
WADI | 09.12.2014
Radio feature on WADI’s efforts to improve the situation of Free FGM Villages in Iraqi-Kurdistan
“Fichar” program at Radio Deng, an independent Radio station in Kalar, did a feature on WADI as...
WADI | 03.12.2014
Kurdish FGM-Free Village invited to Talkshow
Kurdistan's first FGM-free village as talk show guests on 'Binewshe" (KurdSat TV) to...
ekurd.net | 18.10.2014
A Kurdish girl's story of Female genital mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
As we all know from news reports from the region, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan have been...
TRUST.ORG | 09.09.2014
Iraqi Kurdistan could end FGM in a generation - expert
Female genital mutilation could be eradicated in Iraqi Kurdistan within a generation, a U.N...
The Guardian | 08.09.2014
Majority in Iraqi Kurdistan oppose female genital mutilation
Survey reveals widespread knowledge of FGM's dangers, with 68% of people saying it...
stop fgm mideast | 29.07.2014
FGM in Iraq: The hoax of a hoax?
Last week a statement by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was circulating in Arab...
WADI BLOG | 22.07.2014
Islamic caliphate labels female genital mutilation obligatory
Recently the Islamic state issued a fatwa which called female genital mutilation a religious...
WADI | 14.07.2014
One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggests
A first independent study on female genital mutilation in central/southern Iraq finds that...
HIVOS | 13.06.2014
Kurdish villages declare themselves FGM-free
For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital...
wadi | 05.06.2014
Cooperation agreement between UNICEF and WADI to combat FGM in Northern Iraq
UNICEF and WADI just signed a contract to boost the ongoing...
Gatestone Inst. | 07.05.2014
Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation
"No victim files charges against her own parents." — Rayeyeh Mozafarian, University of Shiraz...
stopfgmmideast | 30.04.2014
Second Middle East Conference on FGM to tackle myths
The Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by WADI and...
opendemocracy | 14.02.2014
Embracing shame: turning honour on its head
The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the...
ekurd.net | 10.02.2014
Continues battle against Female Genital Mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
For many years, people have believed that practicing of female genital mutilation (FGM) is...
wadi | 05.02.2014
Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation; Action in Asia is needed
On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the...
RUDAW.NET | 27.01.2014
A Slow Fight for Kurdistan’s Women
“It is like digging a well with a fingernail. Our work is very slow. But we did make progress.”
DEUTSCHE WELLE | 09.12.2013
Iraqi Kurdistan fights female circumcision
Female circumcision is slowly declining in Iraqi Kurdistan. Years of campaigning and a law...
RUDAW.NET | 29.11.2013
Kurdistan Premier: Stronger Policies Needed to Combat Gender Violence
Two years ago the KRG passed a law banning violence against women including genital...
BBC | 07.11.2013
BBC-Documentary: Dropping the Knife; The Fight against FGM
A BBC-Documentary: Dropping the knife; the fight against FGM...
CPT | 04.11.2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN: WADI shifts attitudes toward Female Genital Mutilation
On 30 October 2013, CPT’s partner organization, WADI Iraq office, organized a press...
AL-MONITOR | 02.11.2013
Female Circumcision Continues in Iraqi Kurdistan
Despite the efforts of Kurdish civil society organizations and the media to shed light on the...
HIVOS | 27.10.2013
WADI’s ground-breaking campaign against FGM: interview
Falah Moradhkin is WADI’s project coordinator in Iraq. He was one of the few who survived a...
BBC RADIO | 25.10.2013
Kurdistan's success in stemming Female Genital Mutilation
Kurdistan is one of Iraq's rare success stories, the region has enjoyed an oil boom and...
GULFNEWS.COM | 24.10.2013
How Kurdistan ended female genital mutilation
Two years ago, FGM was banned as part of a wide-ranging law to improve women’s rights...
the guardian | 24.10.2013
FGM: the film that changed the law in Kurdistan
Two filmmakers spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society...
BIOMED CENTRAL | 08.09.2013
Female genital mutilation among Iraqi Kurdish women: a cross-sectional study from Erbil city
Iraqi Kurdistan region is one of the areas where female genital...
wadi | 14.08.2013
Rate of FGM decreases in some regions of Iraqi Kurdistan
The British MP Gary Kent has traveled again to Iraqi-Kurdistan and recently wrote an article...
The Independent | 31.05.2013
Fighting against Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq
It is a misguided belief that Islam requires young women be circumcised...
CIP | 22.03.2013
The Global Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation Continues
A global campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation [FGM], often misnamed "female...
Kurdistantribune | 04.03.2013
Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the Kurdistan Region
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the Word Health Organization (WHO) as...
UN Special | 06.02.2013
The long road to the first FGM-free villages in Iraq
According to a large survey conducted in 2009, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is...

 

 

 

 


RUDAW.NET | 27.01.2014. original text

A Slow Fight for Kurdistan’s Women

By Judit Neurink

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - “It is like digging a well with a fingernail. Our work is very slow. But we did make progress.”

Pakhshan Zangana admits wholeheartedly that making change in a society takes time. The High Council of Women Affairs that she heads was set up by the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to improve the situation of Kurdish women.

It presented itself in 2012 with a conference where the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani proclaimed his support. The council advises the government, works as a consultant with government institutions, universities and NGOs and checks on the progress made and policies implemented. It is known mainly for its work on violence against women, but generally tries to raise women in Kurdish society to a more equal position.

Some of it is very direct and practical. Before the interview in her office in Kurdistan’s capital Erbil, Zangana is on the phone about a court case. The papers on her table show the former member of parliament for the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) keeps in touch with developments in society. And during the interview the 16-year-old victim of a recent gang rape visits the offices, as the council wants to determine what role it can play to improve her situation and what policies are needed to prevent these incidents.

The visit was arranged through NGOs the council works with closely. Zangana points out that “there’s only a few of us in the council,” and that for success, good cooperation is necessary on the different levels.

That is how the Kurdistan government and parliament came to approve the laws that the council still works on, like the one on combatting domestic violence, and the amended Personal Status Law. The first prohibits for instance forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced divorce and any violence in the family. The second improves the situation for women on issues like marriage, divorce and inheritance.

The laws are starting to show some effect. Zangana reports with obvious satisfaction that the number of polygamy cases has gone down. The law made it obligatory that the present wife agrees on the new marriage, although polygamy could not be prohibited completely. The Iraqi constitution is partly based on Islam, and the Koran allows men to marry up to four wives.

The success tastes both sweet and sour, she agrees, for already loopholes have been found. Last year, 450 Kurdish men conducted a second marriage in Kirkuk. Mosul and Makhmour are also used, as these three locations are just outside the jurisdiction of Kurdistan’s laws.

“It is a problem, and a sensitive one because of its religious aspects. We are looking how we can protect the rights of the wives and their children, as a way of combatting this.”

Another problem is that men still marry girls under the age of 18, although the status law prohibits this. “Some religious leaders state that in Islam marrying a girl of nine is acceptable, and they marry the couple,” Zangana points out.

The council is calling on judges to implement the status law. Some judges do not ask for the consent of the woman in all cases where the law obliges them to do so, and instead just listen to the wishes of the man.

“We have a good law. When some judges say they do not agree, that has a bad effect on the society,” Zangana sighs, implying that this will convince others they can break the law. Because of problems with the implementation of the law, the high council set up a meeting of judges and the council of ministers. “Some judges now cooperate, but not all problems were solved.”

She relates this to the fact that “on all social issues we see intervention by the political parties, also in relation to women issues. And that definitely has its influence on the whole society.”

How difficult it is to convince people on all levels of the importance of its work is apparent when Zangana mentions financial problems for the council. She hastens to add that they are solved. Yet, lack of funds again hampered projects on improving the position of women with the ministries of interior, labor and social affairs, health and education. There was difficulty finding funds for the implementation of policies.

The council consulted with the United Nations and came up with ways to make the implementation easier. Because “no policy can be a success without taking women issues into consideration,” Zangana says.

Asked where on the roadmap of change the council is, Zangana answers: “Not even half way. But I am an optimist. Knowing our people, our history and culture and the willpower of our political forces, I feel that the problems that we face are extraordinary, and that we will overcome them.”