Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq || Wadi
For the first time, an empirical study proved that female genital mutilation is also prevalent in parts of Iraq beyond the borders of the Kurdish Region.
WADI and the local women’s rights organization PANA have conducted an in-depth research about the existence and background of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kirkuk. They interviewed 1212 women above the age of 14 and asked each of them 61 questions.
Two years ago, WADI did a similar research in Kurdish Northern Iraq which revealed an alarmingly high prevalence rate of more than 72%. Around the same time, Human Rights Watch published a qualitative study which backs and complements WADI’s results. Meanwhile, after extensive protests and lobby efforts from activists and women’s rights groups (see notably the campaign STOP FGM in Kurdistan), the Regional Government has adopted a legal ban of FGM and other forms of violence against women and children.
Not so in Southern and Central Iraq, which also comprises the multi-ethnic, oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The public authorities assume that FGM is non-existent outside the Kurdish Region.
The new Kirkuk study proves this assumption to be utterly false. According to its findings, 38.2% of Kirkuki women live with the consequences of FGM.
With 65.4%, Kurdish women are the most affected ethnic group. Arab women hold 25.7% and Turkmen women 12.3%.
Focusing on the religious affiliations, 40.9% of the Sunnis, 23.4% of the Shi’ites and 42.9% of the Kaka’is are genitally mutilated. No Christians were found to be affected.
The future of Iraqi women in a post-war Iraq
‘With U.S. forces having completed their pullout, Iraqis are hopeful their country will regain its lofty status in the Arab world, but one group expects little to change for the better: women.
Until the 1980s, Iraqi women were widely considered to have more rights than their counterparts across the Middle East, but they have suffered in the face of brutal violence, Islamic extremism, and a run-down education system.
“It has been a very bad regression,” said Nada Ibrahim, an MP belonging to the secular mostly Sunni-backed Iraqiya party, adding that women have paid a heavy price in recent years.’