Naziha al-Dulaimi (1923–2007) and the Anticolonial Struggle in Iraq

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Naziha al-Dulaimi, a physician and a card-carrying Communist from 1948 on, was a leading figure in the nationalist struggle against the British-backed Hashemite monarchy that ruled Iraq from 1921 until 1958. She headed one of the most active Iraqi women’s organizations, established in 1952, and in 1959 she became the first woman minister in Iraq, making her the first woman cabinet member in the Arab world. Yet little is known about her outside of Iraq. This chapter places al-Dulaimi’s activism in a broad historical context and presents the challenge she posed to the Hashemite government’s gender order. It argues that it was al-Dulaimi who most vigorously exposed the harsh and long-lasting consequences of British state-building for Iraqi women. It claims that al-Dulaimi’s criticism of the Hashemite government’s gender policy was pivotal in shaping a new and more favorable gender regime in Iraq after 1958 and well into the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists around the World
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783031131271
ISBN (Print)9783031131264
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023.


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