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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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 shed 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.

Keywords: Iraqi women, women’s rights and gender issues, war, Ba‘th regime, US-led invasion and occupation.

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