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Xesar © Sébastien Duijndam
pour Action contre la Faim

Testimony

#WomenAgainstHunger 

Xesar : Fighting for her rights in Iraq

“My wish is to support women so that they could work. Us women, we have the abilities to become part of the society and to have any job we want, not only hairdressing. Women can do any work they want because they have skills too.”

 

In Iraq, women and work are a taboo subject. Most of the people even family members do not want women to work.

Our right to work

For a long time women could not work at all in Iraq, today the number of women who work is still very small. All of them suffer from the stigma related to it. Xesar’s family would tell her “don’t work, it’s shameful!”

“When I was little, parents would take girls out of schools because of what people would think if they didn’t. People would also say, “oh look that girl is going to school or that girl doesn’t” either way, there was no good or bad solution. People were always going to talk.”

Irak © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Irak

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Irak © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Irak

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Irak © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Irak

© Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

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Harrassed by her relatives

Xesar loves working as a hairdresser. When she told her parents she wanted to work, they did not agree.

“My family was against it. Later, I talked about it with my husband and he supported me.”

“At that time things were hard, my family harassed me and my husband. The wanted to keep me from working because people were going to talk badly about us. I did not pay attention to them. My husband told me: “I support you, who cares what people will say””

Xesar used to work for other hairdressers, to gain experience and wait to be able to afford her own salon. None of her former employers supported her choice to have a salon. Most of them criticized her, minimized her.

“Now she has her own saloon and we do not accept that.” That is what her former employers said when she finally got her salon.

“I didn’t care about what they said, they didn’t want me to build my business on my own. And I did, I don’t own the place but it allows me to work”.

Xesar was finally able to work as a hairdresser and as her own boss. She is not yet the proprietary of the place but she will be one day and her relatives noticed it.

“When I started they saw that my salon was very popular and that I could both work and be responsible for my family. My husband was proud of me and talked about it with his family. His relatives were happy too. Now they see me as someone important.”

#WomenAgainstHunger 

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