Quotas in Upcoming Elections in Iraq to Place Women in Local Government Positions

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Diana Duarte, Media Coordinator
Phone: +1 212 627 0444
Email: media@madre.org

Quotas in Upcoming Elections in Iraq to Place Women in Local Government Positions

WASHINGTON - WHAT: On Saturday, January 31, Iraq will hold its first
elections since 2005, also marking the first time that provincial
councils will guarantee seats for female candidates.  As increasing
levels of violence in Iraq have jeopardized women's lives, particularly
in cities like Basra, a law that reserves 25 percent of seats for women
in provincial councils may present new challenges and opportunities. 

Many critics have pointed out that the imposition of quotas does not
guarantee that women who fill political positions will be sufficiently
empowered to impact decision-making, nor does mandating the presence of
women in government ensure that those women elected will work to
advance a women's human rights agenda.

WHO: Houzan Mahmoud is available for comment.  She is the International Representative of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI)
and Editor in Chief of Equal Rights Now, a publication of OWFI.  Ms.
Mahmoud speaks internationally on behalf of OWFI about the impact of
the US occupation and Islamic fundamentalism on women's human rights
and women's daily lives. Her analysis has been published by The
Guardian and The Independent, and she has been a featured commentator
on BBC, CNN, NBC, and other international media outlets. Ms. Mahmoud
received a death threat on February 26, 2007 from the notoriously
brutal jihadist group, Ansar al-Islam. Originally from Iraqi Kurdistan,
Ms. Mahmoud is based in London.

For more information about the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, click here.



MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education, and other human rights. MADRE provides resources, training, and support to enable our sister organizations to meet concrete needs in their communities while working to shift the balance of power to promote long-term development and social justice. Since we began in 1983, MADRE has delivered nearly 25 million dollars worth of support to community-based women's organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and the United States. For more information about MADRE, visit our website at www.madre.org.

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