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A small election miracle

Local elections in Iraq show that women make progress on their long way to equality. But there are still obstacles.Iraq women

A new representative, maybe (via jamesdale10, Flickr)

Iraq’s local election will not only be a test whether the worst days of violence are behind the country: The first vote since 2005 could also signal the way to a truly democratic society, as out of the 14,400 candidates, close to 4,000 are women.  This, after years of sectarian strife and extremism gaining ground, comes close to a miracle, even more as Iraq is still a macho society.

This is reflected by the problems women have: Even though it is not a faceless election this time and campaign posters can be seen everywhere, a lot of women prefer not to have photos of themselves shown as they fear repression and gossip; there have also been reports of death threats. Others run, but do not think they will have much of a say as, even though there is a (disputed) quota, party politics are dominated by males.

But we have to remember that in cities like Basra, women were threatened to be killed if they set a foot in front of their door a year ago. This shows that Iraq has come much closer to being a democracy than imaginable before the surge, though it will be unclear for years whether this will last. Ironically, things under the American occupation had gotten worse before they got better: During Sadam Hussein’s reign of terror, women did not have political influence (nobody outside his clan did, actually), but at least their basic rights were guaranteed.

Ein Gedanke zu „A small election miracle“

    […] with stabilizing the Islamic Revolution at home than with exporting it (also thanks to the improving situation in Iraq) The presidential elections in June may see serious contenders challenging incumbent Mahmoud […]

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