CEDAW Anniversary: Mainstreaming Women's Engagement in Iraq

In honor of the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), IFES colleagues from around the world share their thoughts on gender discrimination in their countries and how they are working to overcome it.

Names:
Amy Chin, Program Associate
Amr Abdallah, Program Officer
Vassia Stoilov, Deputy Chief of Party
Country: Iraq

How does discrimination against women affect their participation as citizens in Iraq?

As with most of the countries in the Middle East, Iraq is a religiously conservative and patriarchal society. Women in Iraq are affected by exclusion from different levels of decision-making roles in their communities due to societal traditions and norms.

Please tell us about your work with IFES related to combating discrimination against women and promoting women’s empowerment.

We work with women’s organizations and promote the status of women in a number of ways through our programs in Iraq:

  • Our workshops and on-the-job trainings are inclusive of women and encourage their participation.
  • We are currently running a sub-grants program that encourages the integration of gender into proposed activities as well as the engagement of women in special circumstances (widows or single mothers).
  • Women’s political involvement and gender mainstreaming are issues explored in a national public opinion survey we are conducting about the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and elections in Iraq.
  • As we work very closely with the IHEC, IFES continues to encourage the commissioners to integrate gender-mainstreaming components into the commission’s policies and strategic plan.