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Summer Internship with WLUML


Monday 22 November 2010, by Women Living Under Muslim Law (WLUML)

Farah Al-Dujaili is a media
practitioner with interests
in human rights, culture and
communications. She interned
with WLUML in June and July 2010,
and tells us about her experiences

I am a producer for a women’s program at
a radio station, Radio Al-Nas, in Iraq. The
program broadcasts twice a week for 20
minutes. I engage with different essential
issues: educational, social and political. My
message is that we need to work together,
women and men, to rebuild and improve
our countries. I also emphasize that
women’s issues are society’s issues – we
cannot categorize them as separate.


As a human rights activist, I work with
Al-Nas Organization for Media and
Culture, an NGO which is part of the Iraqi
Democratic Future Network (IDFN). Our
activities relate to raising awareness by
organizing workshops and conferences,
and addressing the media. We run
programs on women’s issues, human
rights in general, and reconciliation. We
also produce publications.
I am also involved with campaigning. For
example, a number of activists and I are
organizing a counter-campaign against
the recent ‘Campaign of reforming the
Hijab’ in Baghdad, in which extremists are
presenting women who don’t cover their
hair as ugly. We aim to address the media
and progressive religious leaders to stop
such propaganda.

WLUML internship

I had the chance to meet people from
different countries, sharing experiences
and realizing that women are often facing
the same challenges all over the world. The
experience has broadened my knowledge
and perspective. It’s given me an exposure
to how the rest of the world lives and how
much we have to do in Iraq to catch up.
I’ve also gained technical skills by attending
a four-day course at the London Academy
for Media and Film Production, which I’ll
use in my daily work at the radio station.

Women in Iraq today

The main challenge for women in Iraq is
violence, which is demonstrated in different
ways. The domination of patriarchal culture
and tradition in society causes practices
such as ‘honour’ crimes and FGM. Until
now we’ve had the attitude that man is a
first class citizen while woman is a second
class citizen. Some religious factions
are trying to keep this backwardness in
society, spreading their fanatic ideas,
which aim to keep women subservient to
men in the name of religion and tradition.
There is a lack of laws that guarantee rights
for women, e.g. laws that protect women
from sexual harassment or ‘honour killings’.
Furthermore, the personal status code has
not passed through parliament yet, as there
is a huge debate surrounding it with some
religious parties standing against it.
Women in different spheres of life are
still stereotyped – socially, politically,
economically and even in the media. We
have women in leading posts such as in
parliament and government but they are still
harassed and controlled in their positions.


Networking is important for: sharing
the experiences and challenges that
our societies face, understanding our
differences and learning from each other.
This will be useful to women’s rights
movements and women’s solidarity all over
the world. It will promote better responses
to violations happening against human
rights in general and women’s rights in


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