Funded by the EU, CGDS is producing podcasts, in Kurdish, Arabic and English to promote understanding of gender issues in the region. The following is one of the podcasts produced for the project.
Akeel Abbas, Co- Manager of CGDS, interviews Hana Edwar. Hana Edwar is a prominent Iraqi women’s rights advocate, and one of the Iraqi pioneers in feminism. During her senior year in the College of Law in Basrah, she formed various connections with some female activists and organizations, and that got her interested and involved in the pursuit of women’s equality.
Ms. Edwar emphasizes that equality for women will help develop the community and society overall. Therefore, it is an essential topic that needs attention not only from women activists, but anyone involved in the community.
Hana grew up in a moderately religious family. However, during her early childhood, she witnessed her father do some housework and help her mother. Additionally, she and her sisters and brothers all had to do chores and help. There was no discrimination based on sex, except in a few rare occasions. In her home in Basrah, boys and girls used to play together without any distinction.
With the rise of the 1958 revolution, progressive thinking and women rights, many doors were opened for people to express their ideas and opinions. Social improvement and women's involvement in society became more apparent.
Women associations and organizations had an important role in drafting the constitution to include the 25% percent female quota representation in the parliament. They also had a significant role in rejecting Article 41 of the Iraqi constitution, which contradicts Article 14 stating that all Iraqis are equal to the law regardless of their sex, ethnicity, belief, or religion. Nonetheless, the parliament kept it.
Ms. Edwar feels that there is an improvement in society in general in regards to feminism and women's rights. Unfortunately, certain obstacles are still evident in presenting barriers. For instance, the government and parliament in contrast to the former have yet to pass the law for protection against domestic abuse.