Iraqi Provincial Councils: Every third seat a woman?

From the NY Times: Changes in Iraq Election Law Weaken Quota for Women

A little more than two weeks before Iraq’s provincial elections, there is widening anger that the published version of the election law has only a weak provision to set aside seats for women.

It is almost embarrassing to have to put this in a law but the truth is if it were not the chance of women being elected into provincial councils will be very slim. Getting the law to insure that every third winner is a woman took a lot of time to achieve. The problem with this as the Times article points out is the following:

The approach applies only to parties that have multiple candidates and win multiple seats. That may work in more populous provinces…[…] But in other provinces, some parties that win seats may consist of only one or two local leaders — and they are rarely women.

What women’s rights activists and parliamentarians are calling for is that the ‘every third winner’ should be changed to ‘every third seat’. This would mean that a quota of one third is maintained even if smaller parties don’t get more than their two male representatives in.

With the Iraqi population leaning towards a female majority after all those wars we’ve been through I think it is only fair that the provincial council and even parliament reflect this.

I am curious as what the women parliamentarians can achieve within the next two weeks in regards to the law.

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2 Responses to “Iraqi Provincial Councils: Every third seat a woman?”

  1. Passer by Says:

    This law should be amended to ‘every second seat’ and adopted internationally.

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Hello Salam,
    I am a college student from the USA.
    I have just started learning about gender in the Middle East for one of my courses. I was interested in your blog about women in the Iraqi provincial councils. I agree with what you said about it being “almost embarrassing” for there to have to be a law to incorporate women in the political system, yet that without the law there would be very few if any at all elected.
    I was hoping you could tell me a bit more about women in the political system; what are the risks in becoming involved as a woman? Is there a history of violence behind it?
    What do you think will end up happening with this law; will the woman activists succeed in getting every third seat?
    And finally, do you think Iraq or the Middle East in general will ever achieve a more equal or balanced political system when it comes to gender?
    I appreciate any feedback or information in general. Thank you!

    -Suzanna

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