ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A woman in the Kurdistan Region can earn as much as her male counterpart, but there are far fewer women in the workplace."Equal pay here is very normal.
It does not matter whether you are male or female.
The pay is only dependent on your skills, the job position, the experience you have and how much you are invested in your job. This is how the salary is calculated here," said Zaitun Ali, a female restaurant manager in Erbil.But the unemployment rate shows a significant gap between men and women among the youth especiallyChnar Mohammed, a baker, also said she has no problems with regards to having a lower salary than men."I have not faced any problems with regard to my salary.
In some cases, some women receive even a higher pay.
My pay is only based on my skills and experience," she said.An institute working under the KRG's Ministry of Planning is tasked with human resources development.Their objective is to ensure that public sector employees receive modern training in various fields.Paiman Abdulla is a woman enrolled in the training program.
She works as an engineer in Erbil's water department."As a woman I have the capabilities to work both in private and public sectors.
I feel I am part of the team, and that is thanks to the progress made both on the local and international level," she said.A recent demographic story of the Kurdistan Region revealed that there is a gap — not in pay for similarly educated males and females in similar fields, but in participation."The gender gap, however, is quite large," it stated.
"Women in the work force represent barely 15 percent of the women of working age — for a male working share of 70."It was a collaboration of the Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFP).The High Council of Women Affairs is tasked with women's rights and spreading awareness.They believe that Kurdistan still has a long way ahead to guarantee full-fledged women's participation."Women do not have a strong legal framework that can facilitate their work at the private sector," said Kosar Karim of the Council.The workforce in the Kurdistan Region is heavily dependent on public sector jobs.
The government says it wants to move to a more balanced workforce.While there is a 30-percent quota system in the parliament, it is not reflected in leadership positions.
The KRG currently has just one female minister.There have been calls for more gender and age balance as the Kurdistan Region forms its new government.Reporting by Hadi Salimi