Monday, 28 May 2012, 07:02 GMT
Four different stories from four different parts of Kurdistan

Women from four parts of Kurdistan attend the Kurdish National Women's Conference in Erbil, May 22, 2012./GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

The Kurdish Globe

109 women have been raped and 990 have been tortured.

Women from four parts of Kurdistan participate in the Kurdish Women Conference in

Erbil and seek to bolster their rights and find common consensus
More than 200 women from 50 different political groups and civil organizations gathered in one conference room and sought an agreement to make the fight for achieving their rights stronger.

From their faces and clothing one can tell from which part of Kurdistan each of them is from. Their issues and problems have a different flavour and each group tells about a different aspect of women's hardship.

Unlike the other previous women conferences held in the Kurdistan Region, this time men had no say in the talks and were not allowed in. This time the women were determined to seek solution to their issues by themselves.

Women from the three non-liberated parts of Kurdistan, Turkey, Iran and Syria, constituted the majority of the participants, serving to create a national climate in the conference and sometimes most of the discussions were about the Kurdish national issues rather than Kurdish women's issues.

"The women's issues in northern Kurdistan are related to the Turkish State, which does not allow them to speak, write and study in their mother language," argued Sevgil Celik, a women activist from Turkey's Kurdistan.

Celik believes that Kurdistan's independence is the biggest challenge for the Kurdish women in her country.

Negar Enayati, a 25 years-old activist from the Iranian part of Kurdistan, on the other hands argues that the Kurdish women in Iran suffer from three aspects, first for being Kurds, second for being females and third for the religious differences with the country's rulers.

Enayati, who is a graduate of social welfare, argues that the Kurdish women in Iran are not only provided with little welfare, but also are being oppressed and punished for raising their voices against injustice.

However, the women from Syrian part of Kurdistan might suffer more than those from the other parts under the reign of the tyrant regime in the country.

According to Jihan Ibrahim, a Kurdish women activist from Western Kurdistan, some 500,000 Kurds don't have a citizenship and national identification, or other such documents, and cannot event register their children under their family registers, not to mention owning a passport and traveling abroad."

Although, the women in Southern Kurdistan are apparently in a much better situation than the Kurdish women in Iran, Turkey and Syria, the statistics of killing women and violence against women have distorted the image of the Iraqi Kurds in the world.

In the last year alone, 43 women have been killed, 44 have committed suicide, 132 have burned themselves and 228 have allegedly been burned unintentionally.

In the same year 109 women have been raped and 990 have been tortured.

In this part of Kurdistan the national issue has significantly faded away and the social issues are becoming more transparent.

According to Dr. Shukriya Rasul, women activist and ex member of the Kurdistan Region's Parliament, there is inequality and imbalance between men and women in Kurdistan Region and women cannot easily enter into the economical fold.

The number of female MPs has significantly increased in the current round, but the number of male MPs is still one and a half times higher than that of women.

And according to the Region's 2011 budget, the number of male employees of the government is triple the number of the female employees.

This is the very reason why Enayati argues that until women become economically independent, they cannot achieve their other rights.

Like the differences in the issues and challenges of women from different parts of Kurdistan, their approaches for solving them were different.

Although Ibrahim thinks that these differences can be seen as subjective considerations and normal, but Celik argues that it is still too early for Kurdish women to unite and establish a national medium for seeking their rights.

Rasul on the other hands supports the idea of establishing such a national medium, but she also admitted that there might not be complete agreement of everyone.

"We want to talk to our neighboring countries in the language of dialogue and we don't want to interfere in all their issues," Rasul told the Globe.

However, Enayati believes that the Kurdish entity in the south is the supporting hand for the movements of the other parts of Kurdistan.