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Advancing Women's Rights in Iraq: Highlights from International Women's Day Celebrations

Date: March 14, 2024

“This initiative on this day is very important, it is important to raise awareness on women’s rights, especially across different communities.” -Shia woman from Tel Afar

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), our teams in Iraq organized a number of events across the region of Ninewa. Women, men, and even youth participated in the festivities because everyone can play a role in advancing women's rights.

Empowering Women

In South Mosul, members of the Women Peace Teams celebrated IWD at a local hospital—the same hospital in which the Head of Women Empowerment invited NP to speak at during the #16Days celebration last year. This gathering created a space for women to come together in solidarity as they found empowerment through the messages of the speeches given. 

Whereas, in Baaj, our team supported the WPTs in organizing a bazaar. Providing a platform for women to profit from their skills and talents was a fitting example of IWD’s 2024 theme: Invest in Women. The bazaar helped to address the lack of access to opportunities for women to build economic autonomy. More than 38 women showcased their talents with handcrafted goods, clothing, and yummy sweets. 

“I did not know that today was International Women’s Day; I’m so happy you came to speak with us," a Yazidi mother from Solagh, Sinjar District said while looking looking at her husband. "We want women all across Iraq to have greater power and rights. Currently women do all the work in the home and all the good paid jobs go to men. How can we have equality if this is the case.”

Awareness Raising Amongst Youth

In South Mosul, the Youth Peace Team held an awareness raising session at a mixed middle school in Seret village. Alongside the Youth Peace Team, students were able to discuss the origins of IWD, why we celebrate it each year, and why it's vital that we continue advocating for women’s rights. The students proved to be very supportive of advancing women's roles in society. One wise student declared, Women are the foundation of society!”

And in Al Hod village, youth leaders gathered a group of young men for an open conversation about women's rights. Boys and young men can leverage their power and privilege to shift the norms and expectations around gender and masculinity. Through harnessing their influence, young men can confront patriarchal beliefs, practices, institutions, and systems that perpetuate inequality between genders.

Community Outreach

The Community Peace Teams played the role of increasing public awareness around women’s rights. An informative yet engaging session was held in Domiz Camp, which is located in Zummar. 

Meanwhile, in Sinjar, NP supported the teams with organizing tea stands along Sinjar mountain. The community groups offered cups of tea to passersby’s which led to casual conversations around women’s rights. Both the Community Peace Teams and NP staff were delighted to see  the community’s genuine interest in discussing and learning more about the topic. Over 120 families stopped by to enjoy a cup of tea and chat with our Community Peace Team members!

But, their advocacy didn’t stop there—the Community Peace Teams grabbed a stack of flyers and went on community engagement patrols. They sparked conversations with families they stumbled upon, and found themselves invited to join picnics in the mountain.  

“Now it is better than it was before 2014, but many things still need to improve. We pray for there to be greater equality between men and women. It is wonderful that you are doing this type of initiative on this day. And this Community Peace Team idea is wonderful, NGOs need to keep building the capacity of people from the community like this. -Woman, Sinjar Mountain

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