Iraq: Female politicians push for jobs




Iraqi female politicians and women’s rights leaders are arguing that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki should add cabinet spots for women. The calls come after Maliki only named one female politician in his cabinet.

On Tuesday, 11 positions were named as acting ministers, including the ministry of women’s affairs, which sparked outrage after it was announced it would temporarily be headed by a man.

“There are really good women who could do well … they cannot be neglected and marginalized,” said Maysoon Damluji, a spokeswoman for the cross-sectarian Iraqiya political bloc, in statements published by local reports.

“We hope in the coming few days there will be a response. I personally will put pressure on my bloc to fill the empty seats with women,” she added, calling for peaceful demonstrations to push for more women in government.

For many, the fact that women are now being forced to protest to gain additional seats in the cabinet is a stark difference from the past. Iraq has long been seen as pushing women’s rights in the region.The first female minister in the country was named after the fall of the monarchy in the late 1950s.

“We have seen how women’s issues in recent times in the region have turned toward simply getting on a panel,” said Rania Turabi, a UAE-based women’s rights researcher. She told Bikya Masr that in order for women to truly move forward, women should have “a lot more positions in decision-making spots in government and in the workplace.”

Maliki’s cabinet choices, after months of squabbling among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs, stirred immediate anger among women legislators — who make up a quarter of parliament by law — and rights advocates who said it was a sign of regression for a nation trying to establish democracy.

Women led four ministries in the previous cabinet.

By
Sharifa Ghanem

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