Igniting change for women in Iraq: Huda
About half of Iraq’s engineering graduates are female — but proving to find work after studying is sometimes a challenge. As the lead site Engineer at Al Qubba Substation in Mosul, Huda shows this feat is possible.
Why is your job important?
Because it requires so much accuracy. Any mistake can cause serious consequences, so I ensure I always work with precision.
How does your family feel about your job?
They are very supportive. They encourage me to work, they proud of my success and they support me to progress in my career.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I wake up at six in the morning to get ready for work and then travel directly to the site. A lot of my work involves managing people. I give instructions to workers and clarify what they need to do for the day, ensuring they have the resources to do it. I also instruct workers to wear safety gear, to protect them from any harm. When I finish work at 4 pm I go home, rest, and, develop a plan for the next day. I usually sleep early so I can wake up to a new day with enough energy that enables me to continue to work to accurately and to the best of my ability.
What do you love most about your job?
I love when I succeed in achieving my tasks with accuracy and within the necessary specifications and time line with no challenges. I have a great team and I work closely with them to solve any problems as quick as possible
How did ISIL’s occupation of Mosul affect your work?
I was contracted to work on various projects in Nineveh, but due to ISIL’s control we were forced to stop work. Our contracts were terminated after the liberation due to lack funds. I was awarded a letter of appreciation from the Provencal Office.
Under ISIL, we lived in fear, anxiety and poverty. We didn’t know what our future will hold so it was hard have goals or ambitions that encourage us and motivate us to continue life. It was a very difficult time. Mosul is different now I can go to work feeling safe because of the security forces in the city
Do you have any hobbies beside your job?
I love traveling and painting, and also catchup on all the time I missed out on when ISIL had control of Mosul.
What is the best advice you have received?
Satisfy God, my consciousness and never listen to gossip or hearsay.
Why equality between men and women is important to women?
Because there is no difference between them, women are half the society. They deserve the same level of respect and opportunity. Engineering is not only a man’s job. Women are just as competent. we are strong women capable of handling challenges, difficulties and work pressure.
What advice would you give Iraqi woman who wish to work in construction or project management?
I tell the new graduates to work, and never hesitate. It’s not difficult if you are accurate and diligent with your work.
About the project
Al Qubba substation was damaged under ISIL and is being rehabilitated by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Iraq. It currently provides electricity to 25,000 people and its rehabilitation is funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Photos: UNDP Iraq/Claire Thomas