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“The Iraqi women are the foundation of our society.’’ #InspiredByHer

08/03/2021 - 12:43
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Mrs. Suad Al-Asadi, a mother of four lost her son during the abhorrent sectarian violence in Iraq. Despite all the challenges, she has worked endlessly to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Iraq. She currently works as the Director of the Female Training Institute and the Head of the Women Empowerment Committee in the Ministry of Interior. Here she shares her inspiring story as an Iraqi gender advocate.

Please tell us about your role and work in the Ministry of Interior? How do you contribute to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda?

I have promoted the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the implementation of the Iraqi National Action Plan (I-NAP) in several different ways in the Ministry of Interior. I am working and cooperating closely with civil society organisations, leaders, activists, women, and hard-hit communities to enhance the role of women in peace building and protecting their rights. EUAM Iraq has had a very important role in supporting our work through advisory efforts, training, and workshops.

I am pleased to see the increased number of female personnel in the MoI especially in the fields of gender and human rights, social justice, investigations, field operations and protection of civilians. In my role as the Head of the Women Empowerment Committee, I have investigated and tackled many problems and obstacles that women are facing in our society. My goal is to advance the role of women and promote gender equality within the Iraqi security forces. In my view it is also important to implement laws and regulations and to provide training for women.

What are the major challenges in your work?

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a very negative impact on the situation of women around the world and has led to an alarming increase of domestic violence cases also in Iraq. The MoI’s Family and Child Protection Directorate is responsible for the nationwide helpline for survivors of domestic violence. The purpose of the helpline is to record the statements of women, protect them, inform the women about their rights and draft medical and investigation reports for the investigative judges.

We need to create a stable and secure society, where women feel safe. Iraqi women have gone through wars and conflicts. It is important to discover the root causes of the problems and provide psychosocial support to the women when needed. We should raise a new Iraqi generation that promotes peace and rejects any forms of violence.

Gender equality is not only about fairness and human rights. It is also about security. Please tell us why the participation of women in operations is crucial?

The increased number of female police officers and intelligence officers is clearly a positive step in the right direction. It strengthens the intelligence services and makes the Iraqi society more stable and secure. Women’s participation leads to better results in security analysis and more responsive institution. The Family and Child Protection Directorate and the Community Police play an important role in protecting victims of violence by recording cases, providing assistance to the women and ensuring that the perpetrators are prosecuted. 

What has been the most important moment in your career?

I enjoy leading and training Iraqi women who up till now face many challenges and live in a society with prevailing gender norms. I want the women to fight for their rights, achieve their life goals and make them better leaders.

How has your work impacted you personally?

This role in the Ministry has made me a stronger person and I am not afraid of challenges and obstacles. During my career, I have learned so much about women’s rights and gender issues. I am more patient and balanced nowadays.

What is your message to the Iraqi women and girls during these difficult times?

The Iraqi women and girls are extremely resilient despite all the challenges and obstacles they face daily. The wars and disasters they have gone through only make the women stronger. I truly believe in the bright future that awaits Iraqi women and girls. The active participation of women at all levels of decision-making and political involvement is essential. The Iraqi women are the foundation of our society.

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