The cover shows the smiling face of a woman without a headscarf. Much anticipation surrounds the launch of ZHIN, a new magazine for women in Iraqi Kurdistan available on the streets of the capital Sulaymaniyah in February. The magazine, supported by the NGO International Media Support (IMS), consists of an entirely female staff, some joining the team from other media in Sulemaniya and some coming from Europe.
The magazine seeks to entice women between the ages of 18 and 40 with stories that are relevant to their every day’s lives and with information of special interest to women, which is otherwise not available in Iraqi Kurdistan. The aim as described by the magazine itself, is to make women aware of their choices, offer them opportunities, and make them aware of their rights to help them play a stronger position in the political and economic sectors in society in general.
“It is about time there is a truly independent magazine for women,” says Ala Latif, editor of the magazine, to IMS’s partner Metro Center for Journalists Rights & Advocacy in Kurdistan.
“It is an effort to support journalism for women in Kurdistan, and a signal to end the abusive stance taken by many political parties on women issues.”
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"The magazine seeks to entice women between the ages of 18 and 40"
The magazine covers social issues, as well as fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Sometimes with a critical tone, sometimes with humour – the magazine always takes the female perspective. Articles in the first edition feature serious stories about escaping from IS and female fighters in the news, but also lighter topics on how to save money, valentine’s gifts and shopping.
“We want to lead the way for a different type of professional journalism that will not seek scandal and flashy headlines. We will directly touch upon real issues of women, and will seek practical alternatives, and that will set us apart from the dominant media in the market,” Ala Latif says.
This article originally appeared on IMS's website.