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Iraqi Women's Union

IRAQI WOMEN'S UNION

Umbrella organization of Iraqi women's groups.

The Iraqi Women's Union was an umbrella organization created in 1945 by progressive, upper-class women to unite all legally sanctioned women's associations and clubs. The union's aims were "to assist women to improve family conditions in the service of society" by raising their "health, social, civil, legal, and economic standards" through civil, constitutional, and peaceful means; and to unify all women's associations in Iraq and initiate cultural, social, and national contacts with Arab and international organizations committed to advancing women's issues. One of their first major social projects in Iraq was the abolition of brothels as degrading to women. In addition, they mobilized women as volunteers during national disasters. In the civil sphere, they campaigned for greater women's rights, particularly in relation to child custody after a divorce, and for an amendment of the legal code in regard to inheritance. In the economic sphere, they campaigned for the improvement of working conditions for nurses, who were mainly women. In addition, they were active in the cultural sphere in promoting awareness of women's issues by organizing a biweekly series of literary, political, and social lectures and debates, which were held at their headquarters in Baghdad. They also sponsored biweekly movies and documentaries of a social and cultural nature. In 1954 the union organized a "Women's Week" in which lectures by legal personalities and political figures were presented in support of women's issues. At the height of its political activities between 1951 and 1958, the union demanded amendments to Iraq's constitution guaranteeing women's equality, right to vote, and right to stand for political office.

see also gender: gender and law.

jacqueline ismael

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