Meeting of high ranking female officials

Iraqi prime minister launches council to boost women’s rights

BAGHDAD — In a move aimed at bolstering women’s rights and inclusion, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani convened the inaugural meeting of the High Council of Women Affairs on Saturday.

The council, comprising key government officials including the ministers of finance, communications, and migration & displacement, signifies a small shift toward addressing the long-standing issues faced by Iraqi women.

“The High Council of Women Affairs stands as a cornerstone of our government’s commitment, particularly in recognizing and serving the esteemed status of women in our society,” Al-Sudani declared. He emphasized the government’s dedication to formulating policies and initiatives specifically designed to uplift women’s status in Iraq.

Al-Sudani’s leadership of the council underscores the government’s acknowledgment of the critical role women play in society, despite facing numerous challenges. “Representing over half of society, women bear many family and societal responsibilities. It is our focus to support this vital segment of our population,” Al-Sudani stated, drawing inspiration from the success of similar initiatives like the Higher Council for Youth.

Iraqi women continue to grapple with severe challenges in their quest for equality and inclusion.

Politically, Iraqi women are underrepresented in governance and decision-making roles. Despite legal quotas designed to ensure women’s representation in parliament, cultural barriers and societal norms often hinder their active participation and leadership in politics.

Socially, Iraqi women face significant hurdles, including gender-based violence, which remains a pervasive issue. Reports from international organizations highlight the alarming rates of domestic violence, forced marriages, and honor killings, exacerbated by legal frameworks that offer minimal protection to victims.

Economically, the situation for many Iraqi women is dire. The country’s ongoing recovery from conflict and instability has disproportionately affected women, leading to higher rates of unemployment among women compared to men. Access to education and vocational training is limited, especially in rural and conflict-affected areas, further restricting women’s economic opportunities and entrenching financial dependency.

“Mr. Al-Sudani also highlighted the areas and issues concerning women that require support and attention, necessitating government intervention, especially since Iraqi women have also suffered from the adverse effects of terrorism, displacement, unemployment, and poverty,” reads the statement.

Though short on specifics, the statement promised work on “financial aspects of the projects and programs to be implemented and the establishment of an interactive platform for Iraqi women.

“Discussions also covered the mechanisms to be adopted for amending and developing laws related to women and formulating policies and plans concerning women’s affairs”