Iraqi Widows Struggle Without Financial Support

May 01, 2008 08:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Islamic militant groups are violently preventing Iraqi women from working, leaving those with dead or missing husbands without any means of support.

30-Second Summary

There are nearly one million women in Iraq who are widowed or missing their husbands, and the government has made minimal effort to offer them support. To the contrary, soldiers evicted 27 families from a squatters’ building where they had moved when they could no longer sustain themselves financially. One evicted widow, whose friends had given her an AK-47 gun to defend herself, explained, “The women now take on the responsibilities of men and women.”

However, militant fundamentalists and roving gangs prevent women from finding jobs and becoming independent. The new constitution grants them some rights, including 25 percent representation in the Council of Representatives, but the government has failed to deliver or protect those rights.

“Attacks on women have long been the dirty secret of Iraq's war,” said the Guardian in 2006. Women who leave the house alone run the risk of being raped or abducted.

Without government or international support and prevented from supporting themselves, women in Iraq face a human rights crisis that lacks a foreseeable end. “We have never lived our lives as human beings should live,” said one 42-year-old Bagdad woman told ISP in 2006. “The Iraq-Iran war took our fathers, and now the Bush war is taking our husbands and sons.”

Headline Links: Iraqi women without husbands or income continue to suffer

Background: Iraqi democracy fails to deliver

Related Topics: ‘The Human Cost’ of the invasion


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