In the course of three months, 25 workshops were held in Erbil governorate. The direct beneficiaries were 500 and indirect beneficiaries were 1,500.
The project goal was to create awareness among women and young girls in Kurdistan Region regarding their legal rights particularly increasing awareness about the Family Law which was passed by Parliament of Kurdistan Regional Government.
The project campaign utilized 2 tools to reach out to women: workshops and guidebook distribution. The targeted group consisted of men and women.
WRO worked closely with legal specialists and professors at the University of Law on the publication of the book-guide.
The book-guide was about Family Laws, rights and penalties including the followings: the right to divorce, right to Khula (is the right of a woman to seek a divorce from her husband in Islam for compensation (usually monetary) paid back to the husband from the wife), and other legal amendments on laws such as the amendment to polygamy law.
The new amendment to polygamy law grants women the right to approve or disapprove the marriage of a husband to a second woman.
Now, the course is changed. A husband
cannot have more than one wife without the approval of the first wife and there is a legal penalty of fine and being imprisoned if the law is violated.
This has been a big leap for the advancement of women’s movement in the region. Women organizations worked vigorously to advocate at the Kurdistan Parliament and make the amendment certified by the Parliament of Kurdistan Region.
Now, the course is changed. A husband cannot have more than one wife without the approval of the first wife and there is a legal penalty of fine and being imprisoned if disobeyed the law.
In addition, the book-guide also includes the laws on the right of women to alimony and custody of child, and laws against female genital mutilation for which any contributor to female genital mutilation will be punished.
Moreover, it included the laws against domestic violence. After the advocacy by women’s organizations in Kurdistan, laws have been passed to protect women from domestic violence and women rights against a husbands’ abuse under the pretext of acceptable discipline.
Since laws in Kurdistan are subsidiaries of Iraq law and are subject to islamic law, Kurdistan being follower of the same law, many laws are advocated for amendment by women organizations in region. These details were all included in the book-guide.
During our coed workshop sessions(which targeted especially young newlyweds) it was observed that many were not aware of these laws and legal rights.
The book-guide and sessions also included advocacy about child marriage and its negative impact on the rights of women and children. It is practiced in the community that many men marry under aged girls through Mullas avoiding civil courts.
The project achieved important goals as it was for the first time that women’s organizations target men and women together and not only women.
The involvement of men in these awareness campaigns was a critical step in the advocacy and advancement of women status in the region.