"Are the politicians of Kurdistan ready to bring the faces of femininity to the world?"
"First, we need to develop a culture of respect and admiration for the role women play in our society: in our families, in our schools and in professional fields."-Nechirvan Barzani
All over the Middle East, women have been forced to stand in the shadow of men because they were seen as weak individuals not worthy of equality.
This once-in-the-past reality however, is beginning to unravel into a revolution. Many may agree that this revolution is taking place right here in Iraqi Kurdistan. Under the Presidency of Masoud Barzani, women's rights have gradually and positively molded into a norm here in this region of the Middle East. The rights of women have increased in the Kurdistan Region's government, security, education, employment, media and the arts, as well as civil rights.
During the September 2010 "Women's Peace Activists" meeting, President Masoud Barzani stated "Women have always played a big role in our struggle, and I wholeheartedly support your work."
Of course, a revolution is never possible without the actions of leaders. Here in the Kurdistan Region, another popular visionary leader is Nechirvan Barzani. When the Kurds hear the name "Nechirvan Barzani", there is an instant feeling of pride and satisfaction for all the reconstruction and modernity he had brought into the region during his term as Prime Minister of the KRG.
Most importantly, Nechirvan Barzani's greatest contribution may just be what some of us have not been as expressive about, which is his emphasis and activism on behalf of women's rights. He has long been a supporter of the abolishment of honor killings and recognition of" International Women's Day." In 2007 during the "International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women" ceremony, former Prime Minister Barzani stated, "In order to be truly strong and prosperous, the Kurdistan Region must not focus only on our economy" our cultural and social attitudes must also grow as we develop."
Nechirvan Barzani has made the "simplest" message loudly and clearly to the public: a message that reads "It is time for a change, gentlemen.: What exactly is this "simple" yet strong message" He has shown the public several times that it is acceptable and necessary to bring along your woman to the public. We first saw this in 2009 when he was accompanied by his wife Nabila Barzani, casting ballots for the regional elections; and most recently, during December 2010, where both attended the South Korean Honorary Ceremony recognizing his efforts between the KRG and South Korea.
As one dictionary puts it, a revolution is a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving. If our revolutionary leaders have changed the way we think and behave when it comes to the issue of women's rights, then it is safe to say that we are on a journey of new beginnings for the women of Kurdistan.