A three-day workshop has concluded in Baghdad, which considered ways how to ensure the meaningful engagement of Iraqi women in elections.

The workshop on gender-responsive electoral processes, jointly organized by the Independent High Elections Commissions (IHEC) and UNAMI in collaboration with UNDP, was held within the context of UNAMI’s mandate to assist and advise IHEC on preparations for the 2020 local elections in Iraq.

The workshop looked at the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on promoting women’s full and active participation in political and electoral processes.

UNAMI Director of Electoral Assistance and Principal Electoral Advisor, Aamir Arain, urged the IHEC to strengthen the capacity of its gender team and formulate a gender policy.

Promoting an enabling environment that allows women to fully and actively participate in electoral processes is an important step towards ensuring women exercise their right to vote and contributes to stability and democracy,” Mr. Arain said.

The discussions highlighted challenges facing female candidates, including sexual harassment, poor media coverage, insufficient campaign funds, limited support from political parties, and social discrimination due to negative patriarchal attitudes.

It underlined the importance of the quota system to guarantee women’s representation, and the need for specific security measures and awareness to enable women to vote safely and freely, and a code of conduct to promote integrity in the overall electoral process.

Two former MPs who are members of the Women Advisory Group (WAG) shared their experiences as candidates in previous national legislative elections. Another WAG member described her previous work as a national elections observer.

The group was launched early 2019 to advocate for better representation of women in reconciliation and political processes amongst other concerns.

(Source: UN)

UNAMI Urges Inclusion of Women in Politics and Decision-Making

Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Alice Walpole (pictured), has addressed the launch of a Regional Forum aimed at advancing women’s rights in Iraq and across the Middle Eastern region, with participants from Iraq, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.

The forum is being held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Iraq, with support from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), UN Women, the Women’s International League for Peace and the Dutch Embassy.

DSRSG Walpole called on women representatives attending the Forum to use this unique gathering to learn from one another in facing the challenges and difficulties that continue to obstruct the advancement of women in the region.

She recalled that implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, remains a key priority for the (female) leadership of UNAMI and urged the Iraqi authorities to pursue a national action plan to enable the meaningful representation of women in political and decision-making processes in Iraq.

“Iraq, at this critical moment of its post-conflict development, simply cannot afford to ignore the energy and expertise of half its population” DSRSG Walpole underlined.

The Baghdad Regional Forum will include two days of interactive workshops on 26-27 August, discussing the role and achievements of regional mechanisms in implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, reducing violence against women and empowering women in politics.

(Source: UNAM()

By Amnesty International.

Nobody wants us: The plight of displaced female-headed families in Iraq

Amnesty International and other organizations have continuously documented the collective punishment of displaced families, especially female-headed families.

Many are perceived as supporters of the Islamic State armed group (IS) due to factors outside their control – such as being related, however distantly, to men who were somehow involved with IS – and are ostracized by the rest of society.

Such families have reported being forcibly displaced, evicted, arrested, had their homes demolished or looted or faced threats, sexual abuse and harassment, and discrimination after returning to their places of origin.

More here.

(Source: Amnesty International)

UN Women, Office of the President of the Republic of Iraq sign MoU to promote gender equality, empowerment of women

UN Women in Iraq and the Office of the President of the Republic of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 April 2019 providing a framework of cooperation in areas of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The MoU, signed by UN Women Representative Dina Zorba and the Iraqi President’s Adviser for Gender and Civil Society, Ms. Khanim Latif, provides for cooperation in technical fields, research and advocacy.

UN Women and the Office of the President will cooperate in promoting enabling frameworks for the realisation of women’s rights as well as government-wide mainstreaming of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The MoU works also to promote sustainable institutional capacities to ensure Iraq’s alignment with its international human rights commitments.

In particular, the MoU seeks to ensure a gender-based response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a focus on building the capacity of women representatives to perform their role in the political and decision-making spheres. Furthermore, it provides for harmonising policy approaches in the areas of national reconciliation, peace building, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

The MoU also aims to strengthen the database for women’s issues in order to inform and guide evidence-based advocacy. The effort includes enhancing the process of regularly producing gender statistics and cooperation in all stages of research, in addition to improving access to research findings and data by users, including women.

UN Women and the President’s Office will also collaborate in strengthening the momentum for the advancement of women’s agenda in Iraq through joint advocacy and outreach efforts. The two sides will work on informing and influencing the national discourse on the elimination of legislative, social and economic barriers for women’s realisation and recognition of their rights, including in the areas of women’s economic empowerment, participation in the decision-making process, ending gender-based violence and promoting women’s active participation in the political sphere.

In addition, the two sides will advocate for the establishment of a mechanism for women that is capable of coordinating the issues of women with the aim of ensuring the political, social, cultural and economic empowerment of women towards achieving gender equality. The signing ceremony was attended by Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Marta Ruedas and advisers to the Iraqi President.

(Source: UN)

Empowering women in Iraq through Gender Equality Tool Seal

Gender mainstreaming is the cornerstone of development and peacebuilding, it occupied a very important part in SDGs and Agenda 2030. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had developed an assessment tool to track gender equality in the public institutions, in order to create a baseline and to prioritize the work for the coming years.

This tool is divided into six parts related to tracking progress on gender equality goals: Framework, capacities, enabling environment, partnership and engagement, laws, policies and programmes and results and impact.

A workshop was held on Public Sector Gender Equality Seal in Dec. 2018, in addition to two consultations meetings with the Women Empowerment Directorate in the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministries and the Ministry of Planning (MoP), to choose the public institutions which will be assessed.

As a result, the Women Empowerment Directorate was chosen as an implementer for the Gender Equality Tool, due to its mandate in empowering women in Iraq, and for being the umbrella for gender units and departments all over the ministries, which can be used to implement the tool.

Deputy Minister of Planning, Dr. Maher Johan, stressed the importance to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 agenda, particularly SDG 5 which states on achieving gender equality and empowering women, and SDG 16 which states on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, and also agreed on selecting MoP as a sample.

UNDP in cooperation with Women Empowerment Directorate and MoP conducted a workshop on 7th Jan. 2019 in Baghdad, attended by 39 representatives from the gender units of line ministries. The workshop presented the Tool of Gender Equality Seal in order to enhance the capacities of Women Empowerment Department to implement the tool in Public Sector, and discussed the important of Gender Statistics as well as it presented the gender mainstreaming into the national development plans and strategies.

It was mentioned by the Deputy Country Director Mr. Vakhtang Svanidze that:

“UNDP chose Iraq to be part in this pilot as we believe that the Government of Iraq had taken critical steps towards gender equality and women empowerment in different levels, in additional to its efforts to implement the sustainable development goals and leaving no one behind. This pilot is an opportunity for Iraq to share its work globally, and advance gender participation within public-sector institutions”.

This workshop was part of the efforts to integrate SDG 5 into policies and plans, UNDP cooperation with gender units on the Gender Equality Seal Tool which has been developed by UNDP to measure Gender Mainstreaming within institutions will create solid working places.

Gender mainstreaming is considered as one of the main pillars of the mandate of gender departments, in coordination and follow up with gender units and departments within Iraqi’s ministries and provinces. this tool will be the bedrock for true and genuine work to empower women in Iraq.

(Source: UNDP)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Women in Iraq push to Criminalise Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has been on the rise in Iraq, with women’s groups blaming instability and the break down of law and order.

However, there has been a growing awareness of the issue at the highest levels of government and the women’s rights groups are hopeful that the legislature will finally pass a law criminalising what they see as a “national crisis”.

The penal code currently has a provision allowing husbands to discipline their wives and does not criminalise domestic violence.

Al Jazeera‘s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Baghdad:

International Women’s Day was celebrated today at an event organized by the Directorate for the Empowerment of Iraqi Women at the Council of Ministers.

The event, which was supported by UN Women and the International Medical Corps, was attended by senior Iraqi government officials, including the two Deputy Speakers of the Council of Representatives, human rights activists, civil society representatives, the international community and many others.

Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG) Alice Walpole (pictured) addressed the meeting, along with Dr. Mahdi Al-Allaq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, who represented the Prime Minister; Dr. Thikra Alwash, Mayor of Baghdad and Chair of the Standing Committee on the Advancement of Women; UN Women’s Representative, Ms. Dina Zorba and UNFPA Representative, Dr. Oluremi Sogunro; as well as the Director-General of the Directorate for the Empowerment of Iraqi Women, Dr. Ibtisam Aziz.

In her remarks, DSRSG Walpole welcomed the upcoming discussions in Parliament on updating the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. “We need to acknowledge that domestic violence diminishes and shames all of society; it is a threat not just to women but to society itself,” she emphasised.

Reflecting on the challenges facing displaced women across Iraq, DSRSG Walpole noted that “They continue to suffer the brutal consequences of the recent conflict”.

“Female-headed households should be prioritised in accessing public services,” she said, and called on the Ministries of Defence and Interior, and the National Operations Command, to “to ensure that secure clearance mechanisms are coordinated among security actors to minimize re-screening of individuals already screened; and to consider removing security clearance requirements for civilians who have not been charged with a criminal or terrorism-related offence, so they do not face obstacles in accessing public services, including civil registries and courts”.

DSRSG Walpole also noted the high unemployment rate amongst young women, which is double that of men. She called on the government to “offer small business grants to female entrepreneurs to help them into the business arena, in particular to women returnees in the liberated areas, and those heading households”.

“Advancing women’s economic empowerment in this way will contribute to the government’s efforts to achieve national stability,” she noted

(Source: UN)

By Kate Denereaz, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Work is a huge part of our lives. It provides security, meaning and a sense of belonging. It’s part of who we are.

Many AMAR staff, like the people they serve, have been displaced by war and violence. Working for AMAR provides structure and a semblance of normality.

But work means many different things to different people. To mark International Women’s Day, we’re asking some of the women of our workforce, “what does working for AMAR mean to you?

Click here to hear their stories.

(Source: AMAR)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has launched it’s ‘IBBC Women’s Group’, dedicated to empowering and advancing women’s careers and networks across all areas of business in Iraq, the Middle East and Internationally.

Under the Chairmanship of Samar Thamer of AMS Iraq and coordinated by IBBC’s Agne Abramauskaite and Ashley Goodall, the Women’s Group will be organising events, talks and networking opportunities for those who wish to participate in this progressive and exciting new venture.

Background

IBBC Women’s Group primarily wants to encourage and reinforce the role of women’s socio-economic development in the Middle East Region.

We will work with our members to share knowledge and best practice, via networking opportunities, online platforms and events to ensure that standards are raised to benefit women in the ME. We want to encourage men and women to speak up and share the best practice and showcase greater awareness of women’s prospects globally.

IBBC Women’s Group is a part of Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), which facilitates business, trade and investment, for the benefit of the Republic of Iraq and its members, seeking to bring together Iraqi, British and international companies and public sector bodies through a joint platform identifying mutual interests and common goals.

It is a powerful network of some of the most important global corporations as well as key Iraqi and British companies and enjoys the highest-level of support from governments and Global Organisations.

Activities

  • Reinforce measures to promote women in corporate leadership through the IBBC
  • Increase women’s access to mentorship and training opportunities that could led by the companies and academic institutions that are linked with IBBC
  • Support social awareness and promote gender equality at work and communities
  • Create networking, business and mentoring events on and off line
  • Influence the Iraqi government where possible to drive progress towards women’s empowerment

If you have an interest in the IBBC’s Women’s Group and would like to participate, please join our newly created LinkedIn & Facebook groups to keep up to date on activities going forward:

https://www.facebook.com/2241576649458055/photos/2241577296124657/

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8731839/

(Source: IBBC)

The Women’s Advisory Group (WAG) on Reconciliation and Politics, which was established in October 2018 with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), was officially inaugurated on Thursday in Baghdad.

The Group is expected to lobby for the advancement of women’s role in politics and making their voices heard. Women continue to be underrepresented and remain excluded from political and decision-making processes in Iraq despite their active role in society.

The Group comprises 22 members who have been selected in their individual capacities for their skills and experience. They include human rights defenders, media experts, former politicians and civil society activists, and represent a variety of interests, political backgrounds and regions.

In her remarks, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert urged the Government to recognise that broad societal representation in shaping the future of Iraq is necessary to ensure sustainable peace, security and prosperity for all of Iraq’s citizens.

“At present, the inclusion of women and their direct participation in senior decision-making positions remains very limited. We are yet to see women being elected to some of the leading positions; for example, Governors or Chairs of Provincial Councils and let’s not forget a male-dominated Cabinet,” stressed SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert.

She urged Iraq’s senior political leadership, including the government, parliamentary committees, civil society partners and other stakeholders to join UNAMI in drawing on the expertise of the Women’s Advisory Group.

She further called on men interested in becoming male champions in the fight for gender equality to work closely with UNAMI and the Women’s Advisory Group to design the necessary frameworks for women’s inclusion in decision-making structures.

Speaking on behalf of the Women’s Advisory Group, Bushra Alubaidi, a lawyer and human rights activists, highlighted that “participation of women in reconciliation and decision-making in state institutions remains limited in Iraq, despite the fact that the country has adopted national and international frameworks empowering women and ensuring women’s meaningful role in society and the state. The current Council of Ministers is constituted of men only, and it is a rare practice that governmental entities would consult women’s groups on policy decisions and frameworks,” said Ms. Alubaidi.

Participants included the Second Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Mr. Bashir Haddad, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Reconciliation, Mohammed Salman, the Director-General of the Women’s Empowerment Directorate at the Council of Ministers, Dr. Ibtisam Aziz, the head of the Sunni Endowment, Dr. Abdulateef Al-Humeim, Parliamentarians and Members of Provincial Councils, government officials, members of the Judiciary, members of the diplomatic community, as well as civil society activists and academics.

(Source: Reliefweb)