Jinda teaching women to speak Out
The patriarchy remains a barrier for progress in Iraq and is largely responsible for holding back social and economic development in the country, despite the rhetoric. The control of women and the view and practice that women should remain in the home, prevents 50 per cent of population from contributing to rebuilding society in the aftermath decades of destruction caused by conflict.
There is an educated cadre of young women in Iraq, who are capable and qualified but the reality for many is that males will be given preferential opportunities in employment because they are seen as the breadwinners in the family. This is despite the reality that many women are widowed after the conflict and their lack of employment opportunities means their children go hungry and frequently drop out of education.
Rojan is 24 years old and lives in Duhok with her mother, seven sisters and two brothers. A graduate of the College of Petroleum and Minerals at the University of Duhok, Rojan is unemployed. When her father passed away, responsibility for taking care of the 10 children in the family was left with her mother. Rojan’s community considered her weak because there was no male head of household, “I was raised without a father, which is something very difficult in my community,” she said. “Nobody could fill the gap he left in our lives. I want my father to be proud of me and to show the world just how strong and capable a woman I turned into.”
The Jinda Organisation which operates in Duhok is a local partner of UN Women, reaching out to those who are interested in becoming part of a growing number of women, by providing them with the necessary information to enable a new generation of strong and confidential women who can challenge the patriarchy. Jinda are provided with the necessary technical expertise and financial support to develop and facilitate courses such as Dispute Prevention and Response Strategies.
Rojan came across the course on social media by chance and she applied for the course when she participated in women empowerment workshops run by Jinda. Rojan had learned that to achieve anything, you need self-belief and her learning helped her develop herself and gain some self-confidence. “I found the section on problem solving really interesting and it’s something that will bring me, my family and community great benefit,” she said. “Prior to taking part in the course, I had no experience in dealing with problems, I avoided any involvement because I couldn’t see a way out.” Rojan explained, “I now view problems differently and try to solve them by thinking strategically, convincing people that solutions are possible. This has increased my self-confidence and I am much more comfortable now speaking publicly.”