In Her Own Words

Fatima Kadhin Al-Bahadly, Iraq

“Today, I can see that the number of activists is increasing, as the number of women fighting to obtain their rights is growing. The feminist community in rural areas and in the city are now aware, despite all the challenges, that women have an active role to play, not like before.”

Fatima Kadhin Al-Bahadly is the exectutive director The Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society, a WPHF partner in Iraq. The Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society was established in 2003 to promote women’s rights, including economic empowerment of women, and enhance their role in society, the political process and democracy.

“In my country, customs and traditions, along with the absence of laws that protect women and the general lack of security, are the most important challenges to women’s access to education and work, as well as to their effective participation in political life.”

With WPHF support, Fatima’s organization has contributed to engaging diverse communities living in Basra to work together for a better future. They have established a peace network in Basra, which engages actors from diverse groups and communities.

“Women deserve to be partners in all aspects of private and public life. For that, every woman must fight for these rights, and must be daring enough to face all challenges, because she represents the voices of many women whose voices are not heard.”

Fatima and the Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society is implementing projects that target and work with young people to reduce the spread of drugs, violent crime and combat domestic violence. They’re working to protect women and girls affected by conflict and strengthen their role in peacebuilding in Iraq. Her organization reaches marginalized and vulnerable groups of women and youth, meeting their needs and amplifying their voices in villages and areas that even governments do not reach.

“Women’s participation shouldn’t be considered special or unique. Circumstances have made women’s participation look particularly important, but that just proves that women do not take part in conflict or crisis resolution in a way that is truly representative of their number, capabilities, or expertise.”