Day By Day

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A New Role Model for Iraqi Women

Publius links to a fascinating article about Sgt. Bushra Jabar of the new Iraqi army, the only woman serving in the Kharkh region of Baghdad.

The reactions to her presence in uniform are interesting.

From some there is cognitive dissonance as they try to reconcile the image of a woman performing a man's function:
"Sometimes women on the street think I'm a man, from my uniform and gun," says Jabar, 34. "The other soldiers use a man's version of my name to call me."
From others there is overt hostility. Her commander notes:
"We are in a poor neighborhood. People don't like it. The women are insulted," he said. "Men complain to me about her clothes."

As Jabar strides down the street, she draws snickers from women covered from head to toe in abayas (robes and veils).

"For them, it's amazing," Jabar said. "Maybe it's the first time they see a woman with a uniform or with pants."

But this is particularly interesting and a hopeful sign.

The young girls she meets are fascinated, asking her questions and posing with her for pictures.
Read the whole article here.

Oh, and she is the breadwinner in her family too.

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