Women sidelined in new Iraqi cabinet
Kirkuk activists call for women representation in decision-making posts

November 5, 2018 at 10:05 am

Baghdad- PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi along with 14 members of his cabinet after winning a parliamentary vote of confidence, October 2018, Photo: Iraqi Parliament Media

Karwan Salhi- Kirkuk

Women from the diverse components of Kirkuk have expressed discontent after the new Iraqi cabinet was announced with no female ministers included.

They believe that there are a sufficient number of qualified women candidates up to the task, insisting that women are no less than men in the decision-making process.

The issue of women inclusion in Iraq’s new cabinet was one of the main topics discussed during a special conference on national reconciliation held last week in Kirkuk.

Elham Turmli, head of Iraqi Turkmen humanitarian assistance association, who participated in the conference, commenting on the absence of women in the Iraqi cabinet, told KirkukNow that “women were promised to have 20% representation in high level government posts, but later we discovered that no women were included among the 14 ministers selected for the new cabinet so far”.

She added that women are not only sidelined on the federal government’s level, but they also feel disappointed at the few number of representatives they have in provincial government posts, citing Kirkuk as an example of this injustice.

In the previous term, out of 20 ministries, only two women sat at PM Haidar Abadi’s cabinet table.

Runak Ali, a Kurdish activist and chairwoman of Sazan organization for women’s rights says, “Women feel greatly disappointed after they were not represented in Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet, although 20% of the ministerial positions should have been run by women”.

“Women have proved successful in carrying out their duties, nevertheless political parties continuously disregard this fact”, she added.

Meanwhile, Muntaha Abdul-Sattar, an Arab women’s rights activist, and director of White Cloud organization for motherhood and childhood criticized the political parties, saying that “women candidates are being used in the election campaigns to gain voters’ support, but winner candidates are being ignored soon after the elections end”.

Last month, the Iraqi parliament voted for 14 ministers in the new cabinet, with no women included.

The UN in Iraq has also expressed disappointment at the make-up of the new Iraqi cabinet.

“Jan Kubis said he welcomed the partial formation of Iraq’s new Council of Ministers but voiced deep concern at the lack of female representation among ministers announced so far, according to a statement by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

Women are now awaiting the announcement of the candidates for seven remaining ministerial posts, hoping that their role in decision making posts would be highly regarded.

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