University of Notre Dame
Pulte Policy Brief 16-Cortright-Romandash-2023.pdf (1.04 MB)

Promoting Protection and Empowerment for Iraqi Women

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posted on 2023-02-28, 00:00 authored by Anna Romandash, David Cortright
The latest edition of the global Women Peace and Security Index draws on recognized data sources to measure women’s inclusion, justice, and security. From a total of 170 countries, Iraq came in at 166. Within the Middle East and North Africa region, Iraq ranked third lowest, with only Syria and Yemen behind. The position of women within Iraqi society has deteriorated rapidly since the 1991 Gulf War. Women and girls were disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of sanctions. They lacked access to food, health care, and education after President Saddam Hussein defied United Nations Security Council demands to withdraw from Kuwait. These effects were compounded by changes in the law that restricted women’s mobility and access to the formal economy to ensure jobs for men and appease conservative religious and tribal groups. Through their research, David Cortright and Anna Romandash found that supporting a legal framework to stop violence against women, providing targeted support for women’s social and economic opportunity, putting an end to temporary marriages that authorize rape, addressing the needs of refugee and detainee families, and telling women’s stories to a broader audience is the type of engagement needed to promote and enforce greater gender equality in Iraq. Furthermore, given the ongoing fragility of Iraqi institutions, the United States must remain steadfast in helping to advance the protection and empowerment of Iraqi women.


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