Women in Sulaimani celebrate International Women's Day and Kurdish Clothing Day on March 8, 2018. Photo: Sartep Othman | Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Two major events are coinciding in the Kurdistan Region on Thursday: International Women’s Day and the Kurdish Clothing Day.
Activities to mark the two events are taking place across the Kurdistan Region with art exhibitions, plays, and fashion shows.
In Sulaimani, Shaheen Sabir, the spokeswoman for the Democracy and Human Rights Development Center (DHRD) said they display the suffering of IDPs and refugees from displacement and gender-based violence.
"Today we will have a theater play to be performed by the refugees themselves," she explained.
She said the bulk of their activities will focus on "the plight of female refugees."
"We have had many activities such as workshops at refugee camps in Sulaimani province at Barika, Arbat 1 and Arbat 2," she said.
To raise awareness, men were also involved in the workshop.
They have been working on a research piece entitled ‘Violence on the Basis of Gender and Displacement.’
Video: Students at Private Sulaimani Girls College mark March 8, International Women's Day and Kurdish Clothing Day simultaneously.
A student at the Private Sulaimani Girls College said "we wanted to mark this day by bringing Kurdish food and wearing Kurdish clothing."
Preparing Kurdish breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, a girl dressed in Kurdish men's clothing said they were proud of marking this day.
She added what makes the event this year different is that; for the first time Kurdish Clothing Day was marked on March 8 making it more "joyful".
March 10 is usually the tradition Kurdish clothes day and celebrated by millions of Kurds, men and women, young and old, in Kurdistan and around the world.
Kurdish Clothing Day was moved forward two days this year because March 10 falls on a Saturday in 2018, a public holiday.
"I hope every Kurd respects women in the society and not violate any of their rights as they are equal in every rights," demanded a Kurdish girl.
In Erbil, a conference entitled ‘A Stable Society is the Source of the Strength of Women’ is taking place on Thursday to develop gender-related studies at universities in the Kurdistan Region.
"Today's conference is the result of work that began a few years ago today some more important work will be added to it," Kosar Karim, a member of the High Women Affairs Council, told Rudaw.
KRG officials have attended the events.
"Gender-related studies exist at centers at Kurdistan’s universities... Therefore, we found it crucial to put forth the work of the centers over the past few years regarding gender issues, obstacles in the way of them and to what extent they were able to benefit the society and students and how to fix gender equality and its reflection on the society, in a scientific and academic way at a conference," she added.
In Erbil, other activities will take place, including a three-day exhibition beginning on Thursday at the Erbil Citadel organized by the Nishtiman Youth Network.
Iman Mohammed added the exhibition will take place at 3 p.m. where handicrafts of 55 women will be offered for sale.
Mohammed added on the third day of the exhibition "a giant concert will be held by Hazhar Zahawi and Asal Malikzada."
"The aim of the activity is for the talented women to show their abilities so women could rely on themselves," she said.
Rawan Salih, a painter and an engineer said she would take part in the exhibition with 20 paintings.
Naz Abdullah, a prominent woman in Kurdish media, organized a fashion show to share various styles of Kurdish dress.
The event in Erbil is timed with International Women’s Day.
Students and employees marked Kurdish clothing and women day in Duhok by wearing traditional colorful Kurdish dresses.
Rudaw's Karwan Ali said at least seven various activities are scheduled to mark the day across institutes and schools in Duhok.
Video: Students in Duhok mark March 8, the International Women's Day and the Kurdish Clothing Day simultaneously with Kurdish traditional dancing, shaiy.
Kurdish dress day
Kurdish national dress day, March 10, was introduced in 2010 by then KRG Minister of Education Safeen Dizayee. The event was originally specific to schools, but the popular tradition has spread through public and private sectors.
The purpose of the day is to preserve Kurdish traditions in a globalized world where local culture is under heavy foreign influence, Dizayee explained to Rudaw.
"Some of the Kurdish traditions were on the verge of disappearing," he said. At the time the day was introduced, Kurdistan was seeing unprecedented economic growth followed by an opening up to the outside world.
"So we said that the national dress is the symbol for the people of Kurdistan and that it has to continue to exist."
"The decision was for all the peoples of Kurdistan, Turkmen, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldean and Armenians," Dizayee said, explaining that people are invited to wear their own traditional dress on that day.
This year the Ministry of Education brought the occasion forward by two days because Saturday is a public holiday for government offices.
The government chose March 10 because it comes one day before the start of the Newroz holiday for schools.
Safeen Dizayee, who is now the KRG spokesperson, speaks to Rudaw TV on March 8, 2018.
Last updated at 5:50 p.m.