Kurdish Swedish MP, Amineh Kakabaveh, was named ‘Swede of the year’ by Fokus Magazine. Photo: Amineh Kakabaveh/Facebook
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Kurdish women in Sweden play a leading role in public life in that country and many have received awards in 2016 in recognition of their work.
“Kurdish women have a potential which turns them into innovators and leaders when they join European communities,” said Agnita Swanson, a Swedish activist, referring to Nadia Murad and other Kurdish women who were recognized with numerous awards in Sweden this year. “I am amazed by the ability of Kurdish women,” Swanson added.
Annually, a plethora of awards are given out to persons of the year and other outstanding citizens who have had a profound impact on European society, especially in Sweden.
In 2016, over four Kurdish women were picked as ‘persons of the year’ in Sweden alone. “This is one of the advantages of the Kurdish diaspora to the Swedish communities. As a Swede, I am indebted to this nation and I am proud of them,” Swanson detailed.
The Kurdish Swedish MP, Amineh Kakabaveh, was picked by Fokus Magazine as the ‘Swede of the year’ this year. She is credited for her role in the country’s endeavors to counter racial discrimination.
Kurdish activist and volunteer Tina Murad was chosen from over 120 contenders by Sweden’s leading human rights organization, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, for its annual award. She was given credit for her outstanding voluntary service to refugees.
Two other Kurdish women, Sakine Madon, a journalist and activist, and Sarah Mohammed, an activist, have been selected along with 48 other Swedes by the Swedish National Radio as persons of the year. The radio names 50 Swedes from across the social spectrum every year for the award.
A number of Kurds were also included among 100 people nominated for ‘influential people of the year’. Two Kurdish women are among the nominees – writer and artist Nisti Sterk and Gulan Avci, a member of the leadership of the Liberal Party of Sweden. The result will be announced in the last week of 2016.
The influence of Kurdish women living in Sweden has gone beyond the country’s borders. Journalist and Swedish citizen Angel Alcu, a Kurd from Diyarbakir, was given the Martin Adler award on December 8, 2016 in London. The award seeks to honour freelance journalists who often work under difficult circumstances and receive little recognition.
In addition, the Kurdish Yazidi women Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar who survived the savage rule of the Islamic State (ISIS) were given Sakharov award this year for their human rights work.
“There are very few nations and ethnicities that could produce so many influential personalities in one year,” Swanson explained.
“If you quickly browse the Swedish Google search, it will come up with names of tens of [Kurdish] brave and active women with impressive ideas and projects,” Swanson said.
Kurdish women in Sweden play a significant role in public life in the country.
In Sweden, Kurdish women appear to be more interested in politics than men. They occupy high positions within Swedish political and government departments.
According to a recent Swedish survey, there is a declining interest in politics among the youth, but increasing interest among women. Kurdish women, especially those born in 1970s, take the most interest in politics.
“Having four Kurdish women in the parliament and tens of other Kurdish women in the regional and provincial councils shows how actively Kurdish women are involved in politics,” Swanson said.
According to a report by KYEO, a Kurdish organization in Sweden, there are 116 Kurdish women occupying positions in different Swedish government departments and 18 more high up within the leadership of different Swedish political parties. Moreover, there are four Kurdish MPs in the Swedish parliament, and 97 others in high positions with human rights organizations.
There are also 11 very well-known Kurdish women journalists in Sweden. The report also mentioned that 131 Kurdish women have been awarded by different Swedish bodies over the past 10 years for their outstanding influential role in the country.