Updated: Apr 6
14 March 2023: Dr Choman Hardi, author of the novel, Whispering Walls, published by Afsana Press, has been awarded a prize for her work to advance gender equality within the Kurdish community.
Hardi was awarded the prize by 34 civil society organisations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, after she faced an online backlash for her justice and equality work. The prize will now become a yearly tradition for defenders of justice and equality in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Hardi said: "Fighting for social or political justice has never been easy at any time, or in any place. Each one of us who works in this field has, no doubt, faced accusations, attacks, and threats that aim to defame, discourage, and silence us.
"For years, women’s rights defenders have been living under the threat of dehumanisation and demonisation, and traditional forces attack activists each time, accusing them of hating men, undermining religious values, wrecking family structure, and more recently, of national treachery."
Hardi called on activists to continue standing up for gender rights, despite the challenges. "The phobias and fears fabricated around the efforts of organisations working for women’s rights, civil rights, and gender equality have no relation to reality. The real goal of these waves of false information is to undermine the achievement and impact of people and organisations fighting for equality."
"Our objective as activists and academics in the field of gender equality is to raise awareness and create a new understanding regarding inequality and injustice. We fight for a world in which women are not marginalised, silenced, and oppressed."
Hardi said she hopes the prize will give activists new energy to fight against corruption and the infringement of women's rights.
Click here to read the full text of Hardi's acceptance speech.