Volunteering to help empower Women
There are myriad reasons why the women in Iraq are vulnerable – the years of conflict left many homeless and in poverty, frequently subjected to sexual and physical violence and without a voice in decision making on issues that directly affect them. Rebuilding the country to provide security, decent living conditions, opportunities for education and employment to enable vibrant communities for all its citizens regardless of gender, must first start with peace.
UNWomen celebrated the 22nd anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) in October 2022 alongside its partners in government, NGO’s and civil society. Resolution 1325 is focused on Women, Peace and Security in facilitating the engagement of women’s participation in peace negotiations and recognizing the impact their contribution can make to peacebuilding. UNWomen’s support involves training its partners with technical skills and advocacy campaigns to raise awareness of the role of women in peace negotiations.
Roshna Khalil Sadiq (31) is from Goldarah a village in Kirkuk, Kurdistan. She holds a diploma from the Faculty of Civil Technology and a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Law and Political Science. Roshna works as a lawyer and judicial expert, living with her father and five siblings she helps to support the family.
Trawling social media one day, Roshna first came across Resolution 1325 on a post published by an NGO. The post sparked an interest for her, and she began researching and learning about its history and importance in working towards a peaceful society.
“I volunteered as an activist,” Roshna explained. “Before volunteering I faced many difficulties related to customs and traditions. I had no confidence in my ability, capabilities or my right to sovereignty as a woman. I just didn’t appreciate that I had a right to self-autonomy. I had little interest and felt no need to work as an activist or in the political or social field. Then as I began reading about SCR 1325 and I realized I needed to become involved. My involvement started with projects that address women’s participation in decision making as well as projects that address issues to educate women about their rights and entitlement to live a violence-free life”.
Roshna believes she has benefited greatly from participating in the project. “After training, we conducted several courses and sessions that address violence against women and the importance of women's political participation in decision-making processes in my area of Dibis District”, she continued. “I was really pleased with the results of the project which allowed me to connect and network with other activists and provided me with greater communication skills – now I can communicate with an audience and speak with confidence. I could never imagine myself being able to do that before and this allows me to be able to raise awareness of the critical need to have more females involved in political life so we have some control over the issues that affect our lives. ”