Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Russian Revolution and the rights of Iraqi women

As people remember 100 years since the Russian Revolution, in Iraq, the October Revolution impacted Naziha Dulaimi, who was born in 1923 and who died in 2007. 

Naziha was a pioneer of the Iraqi feminist movement, was the first president of the Iraqi Women’s League and the first female Government minister in Iraq’s modern history, along with the being the first female cabinet member in the Arab world. 

In 1948, she became a member of the Iraqi Communist Party and in 1959 was central to Iraq gaining the Personal Status Law, which was declared in the wake of Iraq’s 1958 revolution. 

The Personal Status Law, which still remains, restricts child marriages by setting the legal age of marriage at 18 years, bans forced marriages and restricts polygamy. 

It curtails men’s prerogatives in divorce, expands women’s rights in divorce, extends child custody to mothers, and improves inheritance rights for women. 

It remains one of the most liberal laws in the Arab world with respect to women’s rights and by eliminating the differential treatment of Sunnis and Shiites under the law, it does not differentiate between all religious communities and sustains coexistence. 

During her government career, Dulaimi was also instrumental in turning vast slums in eastern Baghdad into housing projects and after the Baathist Military Coup in 1963, Naziha was the first Iraqi woman to address Britain’s Members of Parliament.


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