ESL student: life is limiting for Iraqi women

Rita Marzeena


GROSSMONT COLLEGE– Each community has customs and traditions. the customs and traditions of Iraq are derived from the Islamic religion. Everyone has to follow these traditions. If someone doesn’t follow them, it means that he/she doesn’t respect the older people who have followed these traditions for a long time.  Some people like these traditions that old-fashioned people follow, but some people do not. I like  the marriage traditions, but dislike the tradition that  women cannot work in some jobs, and cannot drive cars as men do.

Marriage in Iraq is often arranged. When a man sees a woman that he finds beautiful and attractive, he tells his mother about her. His mother will do research about the girl’s family to see if she is suitable and if she would be a good wife for her son. If his mother agrees, she will be the one who goes to the girl’s home and ask her parents for their daughter’s hand for her son. Then the girl’s family will do research about the man and his family. When both families agree, they all come together to meet.

The bride and groom spend some alone time together to get to know each other. If they like each other; the two families will celebrate with other relatives and friends by going to the court and signing their marriage certificate, and then in the church for Christian people and at the bride’s home with a man called “Mason” for Muslim people. I like all of these customs. What I don’t like about our marriage traditions is when the girl has cousins, she is sometimes required to marry them even if she doesn’t like them.

There are many jobs women are not allowed to do in Iraq. Men think that women are weak, and can’t do what the men do. Women are excluded from jobs as pilots, taxi drivers, business management and mechanics. The men in Iraq think the house is the only place the women should be in and they have to do all their duties, such as cleaning, cooking, and sewing, and get everything ready for their husbands. They have to do exactly what their husbands want and obey their husbands in everything.

I remember about five years ago, a friend of my mom had a husband who divorced her because she went to visit her sick mother without telling him. When her husband came back from work, he didn’t find her at home. When she came back, he told her that she was divorced because she hadn’t told him she was leaving the house.

I hate those traditions because some men treat their wives exactly like machines and they have to obey their husbands and do whatever their husbands want.

Marzeena is a student is ESL 103