The Fragmentation of Gender in Post-Invasion Iraq

TitleThe Fragmentation of Gender in Post-Invasion Iraq
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsAli, Zahra
EditorGhazal, Amal, and Jens Hanssen
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Middle-Eastern and North African History
PublisherOxford University Press

This chapter explores the evolution of gender and women’s rights struggles in Iraq since the establishment of the Personal Status Code in 1959 and sheds light on the ethnosectarian fragmentation of women’s legal rights in post-invasion Iraq. The chapter argues that in order to explore women’s rights and conditions of lives in Iraq it is essential to explore the evolution of women’s rights and gender issues historically and through a complex lens of analysis rather than applying a predefined argument involving an undifferentiated “Islam” or age-old gender-based violence. It seeks to show that gender issues have been entangled with issues of nationhood, religion, and with the nature of the political regime since the very foundation of the Iraqi Republic in 1958. First, the chapter examines the debates and mobilizations around women’s legal rights in Iraq. Secondly, it highlights the development of political, economic, and military violence since the 1980s and its impact on gender norms and relations. Finally, it analyzes the specific context of ethnosectarian fragmentation in which Iraqi women have lived and mobilized since 2003.

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