However you are a lady’: Iraqi furniture-maker carves up stereotypes

With hammer and noticed, Nour Al-Janabi is constructing her newest creation, a candy-pink couch, within the carpentry workshop she runs in male-dominated and conservative Iraq. “At the beginning, kinfolk criticized me,” mentioned the 29-year-old carpenter and furniture-maker, who can also be a mom of 4. “They’d say: ‘However you’re a lady… You’re an beginner… It’s a males’s commerce’.” Lined in velvet or imitation leather-based, the sofas and armchairs that she designs, makes and mends in her south Baghdad workshop go from rustic type to Louis XV. Her order e book is full, with new lounges beginning at a cool 700,000 dinars (round $480).

Janabi has been making furnishings for a number of years, and launched her enterprise, Nour Carpentry, a number of months in the past. She not too long ago moved operations from her residence to a home turned workshop, the place she has 4 employees-one of them her retired husband. “But it surely’s not proper to say it like that,” she mentioned with an embarrassed smile, her hijab protecting her hair.

In oil-rich Iraq, ladies make up simply 13.3 p.c of the labor power, in accordance with the World Financial institution, whereas the World Financial Discussion board ranked the nation 154 out of 156 in its newest World Gender Hole Report. A research printed final 12 months by two UN businesses famous that whereas most Iraqis contemplate tertiary training equally essential for women and men, “attitudes towards equal rights in employment are discriminatory towards ladies”.

‘You make Iraq proud’

Janabi attributes her success largely to do-it-yourself tutorials that she first posted on Fb to share her ardour for carpentry and furniture-making. She uploads videos-about all the things from the best way to re-stuff an outdated couch to utilizing a sander-to TikTok and Instagram too, the place she has greater than 94,000 followers. “I’m the primary Iraqi lady to do that commerce and break the barrier on this subject,” she claimed, in a rustic nonetheless largely dominated by conservative attitudes about ladies’s function in society, and the place these perceived as too unbiased are typically even thought of immoral.

She mentioned she receives feedback from ladies and men telling her: “You make Iraq proud and you’ve got completed one thing.” “Could God offer you energy and well being!” one consumer commented on a video of Janabi presenting a settee adorned with a floral sample. One among her purchasers, Abu Sajjad, dropped by to see how his couch repairs had been going-untroubled by prejudices some others may harbor towards coping with a feminine carpenter and enterprise proprietor.

Most working ladies in Iraq are academics or nurses, although a small quantity have entered the police or armed forces. One among them is Angham Al-Tamimi, who this 12 months grew to become the primary lady military common. In a video broadcast by the navy’s press service, she mentioned she had “confronted the non-acceptance of ladies within the navy”. However she mentioned she had succeeded due to her “persistence” and “ardour”. – AFP

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