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"In Her Own Words": Iraqi Women Recount Trials
Iraqi Women Recount Hardships After 2003 in New Oxfam Report
03/03/2009 4:17 PM ET

Iraqi women have borne special hardship over the last years of war and humanitarian crisis that have seized the country, the relief agency

writes in a new report that includes survey information gathered from 1,700 Iraqi women in five different provinces.

Oxfam and Iraqi partner al-Amal Group conducted the surveys with Iraqi women and have released the findings in the report entitled "In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest challenges."

The introduction to the new report begins:

The plight of women in Iraq today has gone largely ignored, both within Iraqi society and by the international community. For more than five years, headlines have been dominated by political and social turmoil, the chaos of conflict and widespread violence. This has overshadowed the abysmal state of the civilian population’s day-to-day lives, a result of that very turmoil and violence.

Behind the headlines, essential services have collapsed, families have been torn apart and women in particular have fallen victim to the consequences of war. The specific hardships that some of Iraq’s most vulnerable individuals cope with on a daily basis, as told by them, have overwhelmingly gone unheard.

The report's introduction lists several features of the survey data:

  • Nearly 60% of women said that safety and security continued to be their number one concern despite improvements in overall security in Iraq
  • As compared with 2007 & 2006, more than 40% of respondents said their security situation worsened last year & slightly more than 22% said it had remained static compared to both years
  • 55% had been a victim of violence since 2003; 22% of women had been victims of domestic violence; More than 30% had family members who died violently.
  • Some 45% of women said their income was worse in 2008 compared with 2007 and 2006, while roughly 30% said it had not changed in that same time period
  • 33% had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003
  • 76% of widows said they did not receive 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 as in 2007, 82% said the same in comparison to 2006 and 84% 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

Scroll through the report below, or download the 19-page PDF here:


Wounded Warrior Project