First woman working at the barbers of Babylon shrugs off abuse

HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - Um Zeinab says she suffered insults and verbal abuse when she started walking to work at the men's barber shop and tattoo parlour in the bustling capital of Iraq's Babylon province.

Reuters September 12, 2020 01:11:04 IST
First woman working at the barbers of Babylon shrugs off abuse

First woman working at the barbers of Babylon shrugs off abuse

HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - Um Zeinab says she suffered insults and verbal abuse when she started walking to work at the men's barber shop and tattoo parlour in the bustling capital of Iraq's Babylon province.

But she persevered, ignored the cat-calls and started building up her own group of regular customers - an unprecedented achievement in a very masculine world.

Now, as far as she knows, she is the first woman in southern Iraq to make a living cutting men's hair.

"I am part of society, I am like any other woman. I went out to work, to support my family," she said in the Hook Centre for Hair in the city of Hilla.

Every day she climbs up the salon's neon-lit staircase and starts working, her head covered in a conservative veil and her face covered in a mask against the coronavirus .

The mother of two young daughters also does tattoos and offers skin care regimes.

"When I sit with my girlfriends I tell them you should not just sit at home," said the 32-year-old. "Go out, work, women are equal to men. And right now there are not many work opportunities. So I wanted to help my family."

The salon's owner, Sadiq Wila, said some locals complained when he took her on, but he ignored them.

"Why are we, here in Iraq, not letting women live up to the very important role they should play in society?" Wila said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Saeed, writing by Charlotte Bruneau and Amina Ismail, Editing by Andrew Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan: Politicans, journalists pay tributes
India

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan: Politicans, journalists pay tributes

The Pulitzer prize winner, who was in Kandahar covering operations against Taliban, was killed when he was riding along with the Afghan Special Forces

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed during assignment in Afghanistan's Kandahar province
India

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed during assignment in Afghanistan's Kandahar province

Siddiqui had also covered the 2020 Delhi riots, COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal earthquake in 2015 and the protests in Hong Kong

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth
India

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth

Danish's photographs were not just documentation, but the work of someone who went down to eye-level, as they say in photographic parlance.