One female protester in Thi-Qar calls for eradicating women’s illiteracy
3/4/2011 7:48 PM
THI-QAR / Aswat al-Iraq: Hundreds of men staged a demonstration in al-Nasseriya city on Friday to call for better services and living conditions amidst absence of any women save only one who called for eradicating women’s illiteracy and providing jobs for them.
“I protest with the others here to support their legitimate demands that are no longer confined to local boundaries but rather became national,” Shazha al-Qaysi told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
A human rights activist, Qaysi was the only woman in Friday’s mass demonstrations in Nasseriya that also call for an end to corruption and more job opportunities.
Her participation in the marches for the second week in a row was a meager representation of women in the city.
She said illiteracy that runs rampant amongst women is undermining the socio-cultural level of Iraqi families.
“I have raised the slogans demanding the construction of and subsidy for schools to eradicate illiteracy because we are suffering a high rate of illiteracy among women,” she noted.
Qaysi also criticized women’s absence in the protests.
“This is deplorable bearing in mind that women make more than half the society and support thousands of families,” she said.
Razzaq Obeid, the director of the rights activist Tammuz Organization office, one of the organizers of the marchers, regretted absence of women in the protests, adding this is an imbalance that should be corrected.
“The participation of only one woman with all these male masses and only falls within the framework of a general situation that denies women their rights.
This should also be a clear message for organizations and society that there is something wrong that must be set right,” Obeid added.
Hussein al-Ghozzi, a member of the Organization to Defend Iraqi Families’ Rights, told Aswat al-Iraq that there was no single placard among the numerous placards that called for women’s or children’s rights although women are more than the men in Nasseriya’s community according to official statistics.
Demonstrators cut off traffic before heading for the provincial council headquarters and waited there for more than two hours for the council representative Jameel Youssef to hand him their demands.
Protester Abbas al-Hassanawi read out a statement that called for dissolving the provincial council and organizing elections within three months provided that a confidence vote is taking place two years after the council formation.
He also demanded the post of governor to be through election, not appointment, and cancellation of the municipal councils to put an end to squandering of public funds.
Nasseriya, the capital city of Thi-Qar province, lies 380 km south of Baghdad.
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