While traditionally it was a matter of honor of an Iraqi man to provide for the family alone, a struggling economy, migration and the death toll inflicted by the war have forced many households to reconsider their priorities and effectively push for greater female emancipation, Sputnik Arabic reports.
According to Fatimah Kathem, who lives in the Maysan province of Iraq, female graduates and students working in the local administration is no longer an uncommon sight.
"Two years ago I graduated from university and was employed at the local administrative accountant office. My family supported my desire to work. However, it runs contrary to our traditions. When my mother finished school, her husband, my father, did not allow her to work. Even though there was a vacant position in the family firm, and the family needed money, it was considered shameful for a man to have his wife work," she explained.
"I started working to help the family. Also, working women can find a husband faster because it is difficult for a man to support the family alone now," Fatima said, adding that she had already received several marriage proposals.
As Sputnik Arabic points out, recent social studies suggest that up to 70 percent of unmarried Iraqi girls have problems getting married.
"My husband berates himself for not letting our daughter get an education. Now she’s 32 and no one proposed to her yet. Maybe if she had a good job she would’ve had a more successful personal life," Jamilah Abdallah Hasan said, adding that all of her daughters are now studying at university.
Basmah Feisal also noted that people are starting to pay more attention to their daughters’ education, as nowadays Iraqi women can find employment in schools, clinics and local administration even in the most rural of areas.
"When I started working in a local clinic five years ago, it was an extraordinary event. … Today, no one is ashamed if their wife or daughter is working, it becomes a norm," Basmah remarked.