EU Project: Dr. Choman Hardi’s Interview with Voice of America

Dr. Choman Hardi was invited to Voice of America to discuss the challenges women face within the Kurdish community.

Dr. Choman Hardi was invited to Voice of America to discuss the challenges women face within the Kurdish community. Kurdish women have advanced to the global stage and have become the symbols of patience, sacrifice, and resistance. They have been the muse for global fashion designers and have inspired other women to pick up a rifle and fight alongside men. 

In Kurdish history there has been an unbreakable cycle in the Kurdish revolutions. The participation and impact of women has relied on the male leader’s personal belief system. If the male leader supported gender equality, he’d let Kurdish women participate and diminish the conservative and unequal patriarchal system. If he didn’t, then the system would remain patrilineal. History has proven that the more women are involved in politics the more it changes. The effectiveness of women in politics has been overlooked by men in power.

Dr. Choman conducted research on the 1976-1991 revolution in Kurdistan. She made the observation that Kurdish revolutions have always had a specific aim, not intertwined with any other cause (such as gender equality and etc.) The cultural values of Kurdistan has also caused many topics to be ignored or to be put on hold. We need to confront the issues that women face with a feminist revolution. However, this cannot be done through violence but rather through education. Providing resources is a crucial part of the latter. Other factors that are essential to this are educating the public and pushing boundaries and definitions. We need a holistic approach for this revolution, which means involving all parts of society. 

Feminism is generally separated into two sections, the activist wing and the theoretical wing. In Kurdistan, we have lots of organisations working in the activist wing and, needless to say, making immense progress. However, Kurdish feminism is significantly lacking in the theoretical aspect. The theoretical wing was introduced by second wave feminists and it consists of conducting research, reviewing history, and redefining social norms.

The study of gender in universities is relatively new to the Kurdish community. This was a revolutionary decision made by the ministry of education as of August, 2018. Due to recent political crises, women and gender education have been marginalised. There’s a detachment amongst women’s organisations, as they prioritise their political values over their work towards an equal society. Another problem is that they are bound and limited by their funds. Some political events cause the funding targets to be altered, (such as the recent ISIS crisis encouraging funders to give money to projects that aid IDPS instead.) As important as these issues are, they aren’t the focus of women’s organisations. 

Gender is an inclusive umbrella term for the whole gender spectrum. Gender studies focuses on all the groups, whereas feminism focuses on the contrast of rights and discrimination between these groups. The origin of patriarchy is unknown, what is known is that before written history, men would take control out of women's hands by bending the truths in the name of religion, myth, and science. The system remains as everything has been done in order to protect its maintenance and stability. 

Men can implement change easily. Many of them do not support patriarchal values. Yet, they are entirely passive towards those who are. This is another way of contributing to patriarchy. For instance, they themselves don’t beat women but they would not interfere either if others do. They do not make sexist jokes but giggle when others do. CGDS has various projects to tackle this issue; mainly through re-education.