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Women's rights organizations struggle against harassment and intimidation, while they work to promote improvements to women's status in the law, in education, the workplace, and many other spheres of Iraqi life, and to curtail abusive traditional practices such as honor killings and forced marriages.
To appreciate women’s achievements in this society, it is important to look at the history of their position in the society and how wars and successions in dynasties and governments have affected women's roles.
However, some reported issues have not been taken seriously, because all reported issues are common among the populations with whom they live.
Some Kurds in small populated areas, especially uneducated Kurds are organized in patrilineal clans, there is patriarchal control of marriage and property, women are generally treated in many ways like property. Some Kurdish women from uneducated, religious and poor families who took their own decisions with marriage or had affairs have become victims of violence, including beatings, honor killings and in extreme cases pouring acid on faces (very rare) (Kurdish Women’s Rights Watch 2007).
On International Women's Day, 8 March 2011, a coalition of 17 Iraqi women's rights groups formed the National Network to Combat Violence Against Women in Iraq.
The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) is another Non-governmental organization committed to the defense of women's rights in Iraq.
Thousands of members strong, it has at its disposal a network of support from outside Iraq, notably from the United States.
Honor killings and other forms of violence against women have increased since the creation of Iraqi Kurdistan, and "both the KDP and PUK claimed that women’s oppression, including ‘honor killings’, are part of Kurdish ‘tribal and Islamic culture’". military personnel have committed crimes of sexual abuse and physical assault against women and they are one of the reasons why women rights have worsened in Iraq.Despite that fact, “many of the well-known women of the time were slave girls who had been trained from childhood in music, dancing and poetry.Another feminine figure to be remembered for her achievements was Tawaddud, “a slave girl who was said to have been bought at great cost by Haroun al Rasid because she had passed her examinations by the most eminent scholars in astronomy, medicine, law, philosophy, music, history, Arabic grammar, literature, theology and chess” (p. Moreover, among the most prominent feminine figures was Shuhda who was known as “the Scholar” or “the Pride of Women” during the twelfth century in Baghdad.This allowed the development of some claims to women's rights, which in turn influenced some of the women who would become active in founding OWFI.The founding statement of OWFI contains a mandate in six points: Majority of reports have come from Iraq where the Kurdish and Iraqi population have been poorly educated and illiteracy is still a big problem among citizens.Overall, 26% of Iraqi women are illiterate, and 11% of Iraqi men.For youth aged 15–24 years, the literacy rate is 80% for young women, and 85% for young men.This changed in the 1990s when the first Gulf War ensued and economic sanctions caused educational institutions to rapidly deteriorate.The gender gap with regard to Iraq's literacy rate is narrowing.Girls are less likely than boys to continue their education beyond the primary level, and their enrollment numbers drop sharply after that.Education levels attained by Iraqi women and men in 2007 were: Although there are many classes and castes within the culture, the official language of Iraq is Arabic and Kurdish.