Kurdish Women in Iran

© Wikimedia

© Wikimedia

Kurdish women in Iran have responded to historical sexual violence and persecution through joining feminist movements and through joining Kurdish political parties such as the KDPI (The Democratic Party of Kurdistan). With a former semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iran, the Republic of Mahabad, women were encouraged to participate in politics and to get education. However this republic lasted only a couple of years (from 1945-1947), and while Kurds in the region continued to foster a community, they were under pressure from Iranian government to follow Iranian customs and laws: including systemic violence against women.. [1]

Kurdish Women Caught in Iranian Conflict

The history of Kurdish women used as pawns of war is grim. The mass murder of male population and rape of 200 women in 1915 by Russian forces in Mahabad, the Kurdish region mentioned above, shows the historical targeting of Kurdish women with sexual violence. With the Shah, most women were forced to unveil in 1936, and colorful traditional Kurdish dress was considered dirty and unsightly, and women were forced to forgo their traditional garb for more western garments.

Iranian Kurdish Women Today

Today, many Kurdish women in Iran are part of the labor force and participate in politics and other civic duties. However with the context of living under two patriarchal societies, that of a slightly more egalitarian Kurdish society and the less progressive Iranian laws, women are still victim to sexual violence, honor killings, and disproportionate rates of suicide.[2][3]

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