Perceptions on Women's Economic Opportunities in Urban Areas of Iraq: Motivations and Mechanisms to Overcome Barriers

24 June, 2019


International sanctions and cycles of conflict since 1990 and the subsequent security and economic consequences have pushed Iraqi women into more traditional roles inside the household and left them with limited viable economic opportunities.

This study explores the barriers women face when attempting to access and participate in economic opportunities from which they benefit both financially and in personal self-fulfillment. The research identifies existing mechanisms women use to become employed and the motivations behind overcoming such barriers. Data was collected through focus group discussions held in four major urban areas: Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basra.

To overcome existing barriers by making use of existing mechanisms in the community, IOM recommends advocating for more flexible work shifts or job sharing to accommodate women’s schedules. Transportation services, job trainings for at-home work and community job aggregators are also points of entry for programming to help reduce barriers to workforce participation.


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