A proposal for a new law in Iraq has been put forward. The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:
- There would no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law would provide policies for divorcing a nine year old;
- A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
- The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.
It would be a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.
Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage.1
Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage, for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. On International Women’s Day 2014, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”.2