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Rudaw

Kurdistan

KRG halts recruiting of female Peshmerga

By Rudaw 22/6/2015
A platoon of female Peshmarga in a military training camp near Sulaimani. Photo: Rudaw
A platoon of female Peshmarga in a military training camp near Sulaimani. Photo: Rudaw

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Eighty female volunteers have signed up to join Peshmerga forces to fight the Islamic State in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, according to Peshmerga Regiment commander Colonel Nahida Ahmed, but budget shortfalls have prevented them from finishing the enlistment process.      
 
“Due to a hiring budget shortage in the government sector, the military has been halted and this hampers the female volunteers attempting join the female Peshmerga special regiment,” she told Rudaw.
 
“Female fighter applications are left in officials’ drawers,” she lamented.

The Female Peshmerga Regiment is tied to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party. It was established in 1996 and now has 500 female fighters that have undergone special military training. Since 2003, they have been assigned to missions like maintaining border security and the supervision of women’s shelters across the region.

“Since ISIS has initiated its military campaign in Iraq and attacked Kurdistan, women fighters from the female Peshmerga forces deployed in the frontlines have been fighting against the Islamic extremists,” Ahmed said. “My deputy was killed in a battle with ISIS.”
 
According to official figures, 110,000 male Peshmerga are serving in both 70 and 80 units of the Peshmerga Ministry and 5,000 new volunteers have recently signed up to join.

“The number of female Peshmerga is underrepresented in the military forces, there should be as many female Peshmerga as there are males,” Ahmed added.

Bahar Abdulrahman, the director for women’s affairs in the Kurdistan Parliament, said the causes of female underrepresentation in the military are interwoven with social and cultural factors. “Women are not assigned to challenging tasks that require physical stamina,” she said.

“I don’t want to get married, that’s why I decided to join Peshmerga forces,” said 32-year-old Shima Mahiadin. She has been serving in the female Peshmerga Regiment since 2009.

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fermin | 22/6/2015
The focus should not be on the nr. of males vs females rather than if they're qualified and motivated or not. Everybody should get an equal opportunity to try out, no matter if they're male or female, straight or gay, muslim or christian. It is going in the right direction here in south Kurdistan but the Kurds of Rojava and Bakur are way ahead of us in that department, they've been more sucsessful than us in recruting woman and minorities.
rahim | 22/6/2015
halting recruitting female peshmergha will be a shame and embaressment for Kurdistan. we should know better,there is no different betwen men and womens. Womens are another 50% of every society . we should pave the road for them for their sharing in the society and welcome them to the Kurdish army with opening arm. we should never give excuses like shortage of budget for not hiring them. pejje (long live females Peshmergha).
JamKurd | 22/6/2015
Women should be allowed to volunteer in Peshmarga forces just like the YPG, regardless to which party they belong. Kurdish women have proven to be tough fighters in Kobane and Kirkuk. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice for Kurdistan. Stop making excesses of budget shortfalls.
Complicated Reality | 22/6/2015
KRG is not like the PKK. PKK forcibly drafted unmarried women in Rojava in Kobane. I know the europe-based cheerleaders want to savour a victory for which they shed no blood, but think of the REAL kurds living in kobane right now. The PKK is denying access to our homes and wants to turn it into a 'museum'?! They drafted our daugthers, even those who did not volunteer to fight, and some of the martyrs are probably drafted. Spare a thought and a prayer for the kurds living through these hard times.
shukur | 22/6/2015
@fermin A good number of the minorities in YPG and women in YPJ were not recruited as 'volunteers' but rather as 'conscripts'. You should go talk to the kurds who actually lived in kobani and hear from them.
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