The Kurdish Women’s Library, a project spearheaded by the slain Kurdish journalist-academic Nagihan Akarsel, has been inaugurated in the city of Suleymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Akarsel, assassinated on 4 October 2022 in Suleymaniyah, was renowned for her tireless dedication to feminist scholarship and women’s journalism.
With a firm commitment to challenging the prevailing narrative dominated by male perspectives, the women behind the library have embarked on a mission to “write women’s history in women’s voices.” Their ultimate goal is to shed light on the history of Kurdish women, bringing to the forefront the multifaceted reality of their lives and asserting the foundations of a liberated female identity, countering the marginalisation and disregard they have historically faced.
The institution is poised to become a vital hub containing works reflecting the struggles, achievements, culture, and consciousness of Kurdish women from the past to the present. The collection will encompass scholarly analyses and literary expressions written about women and including, crucially, those penned by women themselves.
The library will further house an invaluable archive and memory centre, meticulously documenting oral traditions passed down through the generations. These include narratives like fairy tales, lullabies, folk songs, laments and ballads. Beyond the written word, the library aims to preserve a diverse array of visual and auditory artworks, ensuring their safeguarding for future generations.
As a dynamic platform, the library aspires to become a catalyst for the gathering and dissemination of women’s creative and intellectual contributions across various domains, from literature, art, and academia to politics, philosophy and science. It will serve as a space for discussion, research and the recording and sharing of women’s cultural and material heritage and memory.
As a distinguished member of the Jineology Research Centre and an influential editor of the trilingual journal Jineolojî, published in Turkish, Kurdish and English, Akarsel had earned a formidable reputation for her groundbreaking work. At the time of her death, she had been actively involved in the establishment of a Jineology Academy and the creation of the Kurdish Women’s Library.