A Message of Hope on Int'l Women’s Day

Report first published in nina-iraq.com, the magazine for Iraqi women everywhere

Key stakeholders, including the Municipality of Suleimania, the University of Suleimania, Chamber Trade Sweden, Nina Magazine  and many others sent a strong message of collaboration and support to all Iraqi women on March 8th Women’s Day.

A two day event held at the Grand Millennium Hotel culminated with a March through the streets of the city. Over 300 delegates enjoyed discussion grounds and presentations which included information about trafficking, women’s health and international media perspectives.


Key discussion points included:

  • The need to improve Women’s Economic Empowerment involves many aspects:
    • Improving basic human rights
    • Improving the social, political and economic
    • Taking away the barriers for women to work and pursue a career,
    • Promoting women as business leaders and to economic empowerment.
  • Women are crucial economic growth and developing the private business sector
  • We need more successful women in business, politics and society which can be role models
  • The future lies in raising our daughters and sons to be equal. Fathers have an important role in supporting and encouraging their daughters to get an education, develop a career and excel as leaders.


International delegates also contributed to the wider discussion points, offering perspectives from their own countries:

  • Jamila Said, Somalia – Challenges in Africa for women, including FGM
  • Indira Abidin, Indonesia –We don’t have time to wait for the government. We have to take power of our own lives and make use of our own inner power to lead ourselves.
  • Ulrika Jonasson , Sweden – Trafficking and the need to work proactively to prevent it . Actions must include strong regulations and criminalization of trafficking; enforcement and support for victims.
  • Madeleine White, UK – The importance of knowledge share linked to humility in leadership and the willingness of stakeholders to pass on the torch to a younger generation. Media as a trailblazer.
  • Dr Badenan Fathulla – the importance women’s health as primary importance for Iraq, linked to recognizing death in childbirth as preventable and therefore the responsibility of everyone.


In a powerful closing speech Charlotte Kalin, CEO of Chamber Trade Sweden shared three key messages, which had come out of the discussions throughout the two days:

  1. Free the Iraqi women from IS and support the women ( and men) who have lost everything and are now in refugee camps
  2. Make the reforms needed in the social, political and economic area to promote women’s economic empowerment
  3. Keep international support for Iraq alive.


IWD here in Suleimania was so important for all of us younger women because it created greater awareness amongst us about the problems that women in our community suffer from. We discussed health, economic empowerment and trafficking and found out what we could do to help combat issues. It was also a reminder to everyone that both women and men are human -  and our humanity is at the heart of everything.

- Sam Sakar, student, age 20.

At the end of the march, a young woman from Kobane spoke movingly about their need to understand that women from across the world were with them. That they were not fighting ISIS on their own, but instead from within a community of powerful l allies. Nina was created to allow shared messages of hope, inspiration and strength to cross barriers of language and physical borders. Let us hear her call as a rallying cry to support each other, wherever we are.

For more pictures go to http://nina-iraq.com/2015/03/12/a-message-of-hope-and-support-from-suleimania-on-international-womens-day-2015/ 

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