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Gender Analysis of Livelihoods Programming and Individual, Household and Community Dynamics in Iraq

30 August 2021 — By CLCI

Women throughout the world are constrained in their economic activities, and face major challenges trying to pursue better paid and more productive jobs, including in Iraq. Iraq is in a time of change after ISIS and in light of the pandemic. Though economic upheaval brings hardship, it also can open doors for women’s economic empowerment. Understanding how current livelihood and economic empowerment programming is impacting gender norms, roles, and responsibilities is a crucial starting point for improving women’s economic position and well-being in the context of relief and recovery efforts. In the autumn of 2020 the Cash and Livelihoods Consortium for Iraq (CLCI, formerly CCI) commissioned a study on gender and livelihoods. Thank you to Transition International for their contributions to the training of staff, analysis and report writing.

The study was designed as such that a total of 356 former livelihoods activity participants across four locations in Ninewa and Salah al Din, including Key Informant Interviews with 39 women and 22 men, Focus Group Discussions with 54 women and 55 men and a household survey with 83 men and 103 women. The purpose of the study was to explore gender norms in Iraq and the interplay between gender norms and livelihood programming in areas of intervention. The findings demonstrated that the burden of unpaid care work and the social norm discouraging men and women from mixing present obstacles to women’s economic empowerment and that livelihoods programming presents the opportunity to normalise women earning income, to increase social bonds between women and as an entry point to engage men, women, boys and girls to address harmful constructions of masculinity and femininity that drive gender-related vulnerabilities and inequalities.