Image description: There are two photos, both showing the same woman, who is wearing a black shirt, black trousers, black plastic gloves, a black face mask, and and a black ball cap. Both the cap and shirt have a pink logo that says Firefly. In both photos, she is in a restaurant. In one photo, she holds a large green tray by its side, in front of her. She is facing the camera. Behind her is a restaurant setting in wood and brick, with beverage and menu signs. In the other photo, she stands in front of a restaurant table, holding a tray on which is a submarine sandwich on top of a large piece of paper.
Suzan Jalal, 31 Years old, Technical institute graduate From Kirkuk governorate, living in Sulaymaniyah since 2015
When I was younger it was my wish to enter the college of Media and I thought that I could achieve it. However, my marriage after I completed the twelfth grade was the obstacle between me and the realization of my dream, and because of my early marriage I gave up on many other dreams that I weaved in my mind as a child. A year after my marriage, I had my first child and completed the technical institute because I lost my dream to study journalism. My dream was lost among the rubble of life and the challenges I faced as a mother under the age of twenty. In my governorateKirkuk, it is very difficult for a girl to work in any sector outside the government sector because of the society’s view of female workers in the private sector and the government sector too, however it remains more acceptable than private .So after my graduation - like all others who are looking for a bright future and a job that preserves their dignity - I relied on applying for government jobs. Among my continuous steps in pursuing the government employment, I gave birth to my second child, and we moved to Sulaymaniyah in an effort to find an opportunity for a better life. After a long boredom, I started looking for a job again, and this time I did not pay attention to government sectors as I had reached the conclusion that government work mainly consists of just doing paperwork. I did not graduate to be unemployed, especially since I am the only housewife among my brothers, and for this reason I felt that they were superior to me. My family encouraged me to look for work, and they did not specify me in other fields, so I worked (as a cashier) in a restaurant from ten in the morning until ten at night, and now I work in another restaurant (a lounge captain). I did not understand anything about the work of restaurants in my early days, but I challenged myself and said why I do not learn, because the human being has an endless energy to learn new experiences. Customers love me because of the way I deal with them, and none of them harassed me and most of them encouraged me. From the first moment I started working and until now I am completely convinced of my work because I did not reach out to anyone and because I loved my work so much that I feel that I am the owner of the place I work in, especially since the manager cooperates with all the employees and does not differentiate between me and any other worker. I faced many challenges, including fierce cyber attacks and poor evaluation of my job performance by some pages interested in evaluating restaurants. I later discovered that this evaluation was based on gender and not on the basis of competence and loyalty. I have never doubted myself and loved my work to the point that I work four additional hours for free to fill the restaurant staff shortage. I do not care about society’s view, and I don’t care if someone says badly about me, because I know who I am. Despite all the challenges I faced, I overcame obstacles due to my self-confidence and my family's trust in me. My message to girls of my generation is that life does not depend on government employment. The important thing is that you work in a place that you love and your energy is appreciated, and that independence does not depend on moral things only, but also on financial matters.