Women in Iraq: Background and Issues for U.S. Policy
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The issue of womens rights in Iraq has taken on new relevance, following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, efforts to reconstruct Iraq, and recent elections for a Transitional National Assembly TNA. Over the past three years, the Bush Administration has reiterated its interest in ensuring that Iraqi women participate in politics and ongoing reconstruction efforts in Iraq. There has also been a widening debate regarding the extent to which the U.S.-led reconstruction efforts have been able to enhance womens rights in Iraq and encourage their participation in Iraqs governing institutions. According to some observers, political uncertainty, conservative Iraqi culture, and an increase in popular religious activism, has called into question the future involvement of Iraqi women ill nation-building and their role ill public life. Also, Iraqis, in general, and Iraqi women, in particular, have complained that the volatile security situation and continuing insurgency have contributed to a deterioration in their status. Others note that Iraqi women are making inroads into the political process, citing the example of the January 30, 2005 national election, which resulted in Iraqi women gaining 87 out of 275 seats in the TNA. While Iraqi women captured 31 of Assembly seats, a primary challenge will be the drafting of a new permanent construction, which some feel must institutionalize the rights of women as equal citizens in the state of Iraq. Another challenge Iraqi policymakers face is how to best ensure Iraqi women are represented in traditionally male-dominated areas such as the judiciary, state ministries, and local government.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law