Electrical engineer Ghadah Mahuk in Baghdad
One of the consequences of the US invasion of Iraq was a catastrophic decline in the status of women in Iraqi society. As National Geographic noted in January 1985: “Iraqi women, among the most progressive in the Arab world, constitute 25 percent of the country’s work force and are guaranteed equality under Baath Party doctrine.” Since then, of course, everything has changed — to such an extent that the scene shown on the left, in which a casually dressed female electrical engineer directs a male colleague, is unthinkable today. As in other Muslim countries, such as Afghanistan, foreign intervention, whatever its professed aims, has unleashed the forces of a particularly vicious form of fundamentalism, which believes in putting women “in their place”. This photograph, presumably from 1984, will be incorporated in a feature I am planning on Iraqi women at islamnz.com
. Click here
for my feature on the decline in the status of women in Afghanistan.