Yanar is the co-founder and President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Since it’s inception in 2003, the organization has campaigned for women’s political, civic and human rights in Iraq. One of it’s operations is running secret women’s shelters in Baghdad. These safehouses provide accommodation and support to women who have been forced to flee dangerous living situations, including domestic abuse and honor killings.
Yanar is one of the foremost activists for women’s rights in Iraq. Her work, like many other human rights activists in the country, has been undertaken at great personal risk. Yanar’s courageous work merited her the Gruber Foundation’s Women’s Rights Prize in 2008. She is the editor of the newspaper Al-Mousawat (“Equality”).