Baghdad has been undergoing major changes since the "Islamic State" group was removed from Iraq, and safety returned to the city of eight million. Most of the T-walls erected over the past decade to keep both public and private buildings safe have now been pulled down to reveal parks and green zones. In a major development, the Green Zone housing the parliament, ministries and embassies, which was formerly secured behind fences, walls and checkpoints, was recently opened up to all traffic.
As part of this changing environment, Baghdad has seen the opening of its first women's café, where women can meet without males to accompany them and without wearing the scarf and long abaya that have become so common on the streets. These are, of course, the first things young women remove on entering La Femme café.