The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Quota system for Iraqi women

In light of the recently announced elections, two female members of the Iraqi Governing Council have published this editorial in the New York Times arguing for a quota system to make sure women are represented in Iraqi politics and government. They model their idea on systems in existence in Scandinavia and Latin America, but warn that there might be much opposition in Iraq.

How can these sorts of innovations be adapted for Iraq? The United States could work with us to ensure that the Governing Council sets aside slots for women in all levels of government and in the constitutional drafting process in proportion to their percentage of the population; makes good on its previous pledge to appoint at least five women as deputy ministers of government agencies; increases the number of women on the Governing Council and its successor provisional government and ensures that these women have a leadership role in building a new government and appointing senior government officials; guarantees equal rights and opportunities for women in the constitution and all related laws; and creates a gender advisory council that reports to the head of state and has the authority and responsibility to make sure that women's concerns are represented.

It is worth noting that neighboring Iran has one of the highest proportions of women in parliament, although they are banned from running for senior posts such as president.