Politics & Economics

Women in Iraq: Expanding their presence in Iraqi politics

Iraq

On Monday, the Women Empowerment Conference was held in Baghdad, in coordination with international and Iraqi female figures. The conference seeks to encourage women to have bigger political roles in Iraqi politics.

A conference has been held in Baghdad to promote the role of women in Iraqi politics. The conference, which was titled the Women Empowerment Conference, brought together a number of Iraqi and international political individuals and organisations, including UN Women, which assisted in the organising of the conference. The aim of the conference was to highlight the needs of women in Iraq and to increase their representation in parliament.

“There should be at least 25% of women ministers and we hope that the next government will return the Ministry of Women,” said Dina Zorba, a representative of UN Women. “The Ministry of Women is very important so that Iraq can fulfil its local, regional and international obligations, in addition to meeting the agenda of women, their needs and the needs of the Iraqi families.”

Currently, the Iraqi Constitution stipulates that women should make up at least 25% of parliamentary members. However, many women are demanding that the figure should increase to be more representative of the female population of Iraq, which would effectively make for a 50:50 split between men and women in the parliament. Moreover, women have called for greater representation within the cabinet, in which women have formed just 9% of its members in the previous 15 years.

“Why don’t women participate in decision-making at the top of the pyramid in the Iraqi state?” said Majda al-Tamimi, an election candidate for the House of Representatives. “Over the past 15 years, the percentage of the ministerial cabinet for men was 91% compared to the 9% for Iraqi women.”

The implementation of the recommended reforms put forward by the conference would bring Iraq in line with Tunisia, where, through a number of different reforms and initiatives, women now account for 47.7% of the total number of the country’s members of parliament. The Tunisian Local Elections Law, which was adopted in 2014, has given way to an unprecedented participation of women in the country and the near complete gender parity in politics.