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Published on Aug 23, 2011
Over the past 30 years, armed conflicts and sectarian violence have ravaged Iraq, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties, and in widowed women suddenly being in charge of their families. Although no official statistics are available, it is estimated that there are over one million women in Iraq who must head their households. In such a deeply patriarchal society, very few women work outside the home. So once they lose their breadwinner, their lives undergo drastic and fundamental change. Since 2008, the ICRC has developed a range of programmes, such as relief distributions, micro-economic initiatives and support for women seeking to register for the social welfare benefit, to help meet some of the needs of households headed by women.