Kurdish Women Find Independence in Employment
|March 19, 2013||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Many Kurdish women use their salary for purchasing jewelry
Unlike before, the number of females working in both private and public sectors are increasing dramatically since women think they can buy anything they like without depending on their parents or spouses.
Tens of thousands of females annually graduate in the universities and technical institutes in Kurdistan Region. Upon finishing their colleges, many ladies apply for jobs in both public and private sectors. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) hires some thousands in the public sectors based on skills, degree, and needs. Men and Women have equal chances to work in the government sectors.
Women’s demands have increased due to watching TV advertisements for home furniture; and the dubbed shows and dramas have great impacts on them to mimic western living style.
“With the money I make as a government employee I have bought many things. I spent $ 4,000 for kitchen furniture. Because my husband has no time to take me to the market and to work I am planning to buy a car in the next few months. I am not saying that women are totally like men in all respects, but I would say women can do a lot of things that were done only by men in the past. There are many things, which used to be owned by men, are now owned by women as well,” said Gulzar Ahmad, 34, a female engineer working in an oil company in Erbil.
Kurda Otham, another lady who is married and has two kids, is teaching in a basic school in Erbil and makes 700,000 Iraqi Dinars monthly. She said “I saved $ 3,000 in the first year of working. I was able to buy a necklace I liked for many years. Before I got employed, I had to ask my husband in order to buy anything I needed. I couldn’t buy everything I liked because my husband was paying me only for buying what I needed. But now I buy anything I like because the money is mine.”
Most of the Kurdish women are believed to spend % 70 of their money for buying jewelry. It is an old custom that is carried along today; jewelry is the ultimate accessory for any women. In Kurdish society if a confrontation is faced in a marriage and the family need additional money then in such circumstances the woman’s gold is sold, this way the money is always there.
“Many people blame women for purchasing a lot of gold. In my view, gold is women’s money; it is money. Many friends of mine have helped their husbands by selling their gold for buying cars and even houses. I am ready to sell my gold if I feel my family need something at home,” noted Othman.
According to, Luqman Sofy, who has masters degree in sociology, the main idea behind women’s desire for gold is if the marriage is unsuccessful, the only way a woman can stand on her feet, is to depend on the gold that she has.
“Gold isn’t like a dress after wearing for a long to throw away. Gold is never wasted, it is ‘stored money’, this way, there is always a last resort that women can reply upon if all else fails. Woman can sell her gold to get cash. In this case, the more she has the more she benefits.” Explained Sofy.
Kurdish Women whether rich or poor all love gold. They feel independent and happy when they have gold. Because many women nowadays have monthly income, demands for gold have increased noticeably for the last decade. Due to the great demand for gold, according to goldsmiths, every month approximately four to five tons of gold come into Kurdistan mostly from Dubai.
Amjad Burhan, who owns a jewelry store in Erbil’s Qaisari Market, said “More than 90 percent of our customers are women, and I have learned to bring what women nowadays like.” When asked what women usually like, he reveals, “What is worn by drama actresses and is shown on TV is liked by women here.”
As for his regular customers, Burhan says many women cannot make up their minds. “You make her happy then she changes her mind again. If she takes something home and a friend of a friend says it is not nice, then a few days later she brings it back and exchanges it for something else.”
Gold is imported to Kurdistan Region mostly from Dubai, Turkey, Syria and India. There are also 15 factories in the Region that produce gold in styles that mimic those of Dubai and Turkey.
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