2011 looks grim for progress on women's rights in Iraq
Added under Iraq
When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki introduced what he called a national partnership government two weeks ago, he included allies and adversaries, Arabs and Kurds, Shiite Muslims and Sunnis. One group, however, was woefully underrepresented.
Only one woman was named to Maliki's 42-member cabinet, sparking an outcry in a country that once was a beacon for women's rights in the Arab world and adding to an ongoing struggle over the identity of the new Iraq.
Whether this fledgling nation becomes a liberal democracy or an Islamist-led patriarchy might well be judged by the place it affords its women.
Nearly eight years after American-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, Iraq's record is decidedly mixed.
Maliki's last cabinet included four women, and since 2005 the Iraqi constitution has set aside one-quarter of legislative seats for females. Of 325 lawmakers elected in March, 82 were women, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Yet analysts said their political contributions so far have been limited, and activists and female lawmakers seized on their exclusion from the new cabinet as a sign of women's continued struggle to find a place in Iraqi public life.
Sources: McClatchy Newspapers
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