Iraqi women are suffering a ‘silent emergency’, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country, according to a survey of 1,700 women in Iraq released today by international aid agency Oxfam.
The survey report, “In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges,” is being released on International Women’s Day to highlight the daily hardships women are facing as a result of years of conflict.
“Women are the forgotten victims of Iraq. Despite the billions of dollars poured into rebuilding Iraq and recent security gains, a quarter of the women interviewed still do not have daily access to water, a third cannot send their children to school and since the war started, over half have been the victim of violence. And to add further insult more than three quarters of widows, many of whom lost their husbands to the conflict, get no government pension which they are entitled to,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
- Income was worse for 45% of women in 2008 compared with 2007 and 2006, while roughly 30% said it had not changed in that same time period
- 33% of women had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003
- 76% of widows were not receiving a pension from the government
- Nearly 25% of women had no daily access to drinking water & half of those who did have daily access to water said it was not potable; 69% said access to water was worse or the same as it was in 2006 & 2007
- One-third of respondents had electricity 3 hours or less per day; two-thirds had 6 hours or less; 80% said access to electricity was more difficult or the same compared to 2007; 82% as compared to 2006 and 84% as compared to 2003
- Nearly half of women said access to quality healthcare was more difficult in 2008 compared with 2006 and 2007
- 40% of women with children reported that their sons and daughters were not attending school