Friday, April 26, 2013

Day W: Women of Iraq

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.


Ivory and gold statue of Queen Shu-bad of Sumeria

Women have been an influential part of society since the days the three-starred-crowned queen ruled these lands.

The pages of Iraqi history will always cite several names that contributed to this country: Nazik Al Malaika- the poet, Zaha Hadid- the architect, Amal Al Khedairy- the academic, Salima Murad- the singer, Atwar Bahjat- the journalist. There are women who belong to every profession: from physicists and university lecturers to the police and corporate world.

Women have traditionally featured in countless paintings by Iraqi artists:

Painting by Buthaina Abdul Raheem
Painting by Sattar Kawoosh

Painting by Naseer Thamir
Painting by Asma Al Agha

Painting by Ali Al Tajir
Painting by Nazeeha Saleem   

Another one by Naseer Thamir

And another by Wasmaa Al Agha

Iraq was the first Arab country to elect a woman to a parliamentary position. Today, twenty-five percent of the parliament constitutes of women. The typical Iraqi woman is strong, capable of doing things independently, and very opiniated!

However, there is much room for improvement. The American Invasion left two and a half million women widowed. Twenty-six percent of Iraqi women are illiterate, although this is decreasing with the newer generations. Hopefully, with the right directions, the great potential in young Iraqi women can be unleashed to further show the world how valuable a woman's contribution is to her country.



  1. Women are valuable. My daughter and I saw a wonderful exhbit at the Skirball reminding us that Women Hold Up Half the Sky.

  2. this was fascinating and gorgeous paintings!!!!

  3. I hope all women can become literate. Beautiful paintings.

  4. Your posts are so interesting - I know so little about Iraq! I love the art and will google some of the artists.
    A month of Blog...

  5. I love the layout of your blog, and the paintings are wonderful. The painting by Asma al Naga reminds me of work by Gustav Klimt.

    I truly wish America had not invaded Iraq either time. Is Iraq or America any better off for the Gulf wars? Saddam is gone, but at what cost?

  6. You are amazing. Thank you for giving us a greater view and understanding of Iraqi.
    I've never heard of the three-starred-crowned queen before - obviously i have a lot to learn. i am grateful you are such a generous teacher.

    love & love,

  7. For a moment I had to hold my breath. Two and a half million women became widows ? My heart goes out to them.
    The cover of time magazine has Malala the young girl who was shot because she believes in education of women. I see that the higher power is on the side of women's ed.

  8. Good post. When are those pictures from? They remind me of cubism.

  9. Those are very stunning paintings. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Some say that the world would be much more peaceful if more women were elected leaders!

  11. :O 25%?! That's wicked awesome amazing.

    ... oh, and the last fact is tragic indeed, but I feel like with that 25%, your country has already began taking steps in the right direction :)

    The paintings are beautiful (from an average eye, anyway ^_^ ) and I especially like the one from Ali Al-Tajeer, for some reason. Hm.

  12. I have often wondered about the status of women in countries like Iraq, and it's so great to get your insight. Those paintings are just absolutely beautiful. I used to wonder about the freedom that the women in your country have, but now I am glad to know about the improving conditions. The shocking statistics of the deaths caused by the invasion is very saddening indeed. I hope the women in Iraq continue moving in the right path, I provide full support and wishes.

  13. Two and a half million widows. TWO AND A HALF MILLION. That's... terrible. So many lives shattered by a pointless war.

    But the progress you're making is wonderful. 25% representation in the Parliament is no small feat. In the so-called developing country of mine, women have to make their voices heard. Mindboggling crimes-against-women statistics.

    It's high time people realized that women are essential for ANY country's progress.


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