Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Women's Role in Iraqi Politics Remains Inactive

By: Ali Rawaf

Though they make about a quarter of the newly elected parliament, their voices are unheard and ambitions of leadership remain unseen.Their role doesn't go beyond the fulfillment of the electoral quota. Today, however, one female politician spoke out. Safiya al-Suhail sent a letter to President Talabani asking him if he was "only a president for men and not women" referring to the dinner Talabani organized to break the deadlock in which only men were invited.

 al-Suhail, member of the State of Law bloc said that women in Parliament should be involved in the negotiations to for the net government but her comments showed no ambition. She followed saying, "We [women MPs] will be better at the negotiations because we are not looking to get any of the higher positions." 

Iraq was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to grant women equal rights but the norms of the society do not reflect so. The Iraqi government is dominated my men despite the presence of women in politics but this phenomena cuts across many different aspects of society which is unfortunate because the essence of democracy lies in the fact that all elements of society are represented and empowered. In Iraq, inclusion means the inclusion of other sects while women get overlooked. If we truly care about consolidating out democracy, we need to reevaluate the role women should play in society. We need to be inclusive not only of other sects but also of the other sex. Women must be empowered in all field such as education, work force, and at home. 

In the picture: Safia al-Suhail, Iraqi MP and member of the State of Law bloc.