Erbil, 12 March 2017 - Men and women political leaders from over eleven political parties in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have met and discussed the mechanisms to guarantee women participation and examined the importance of women in political processes.
Emma Organization for Human Development, a local NGO, organized the meeting with a focus on bringing women leaders of political parties and male decision makers to chat the way forward and action the call for more Iraqi women in decision-making positions.
This was a follow-up to the first forum in December 2016, where about 60 women leaders from all political parties in the Kurdistan region, discussed their role in decision-making and peace building process. Despite their political differences, they were able to look at ways in which Iraqi women can play their role in Kurdistan politics.
In this forum, women called for a greater role in decision making to ensure that they work together with their male counterparts to build their society at all fronts. They also called on UNAMI to help advocate for women participation in decision making, peace building and reforms.
UNAMI participated in the two-hour conference, with head of the Erbil Office, Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez, giving the opening remarks and Ms. Mmabatlharo Dihemo, the Gender Advisor, moderating.
Tania Gilly-Klani, former member of Baghdad Parliament and an active member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK), explained in an interview with UNAMI PIO the importance of their action:
“Women make up almost more than half of the Iraqi society so we cannot only be represented in an iconic way but we need true representation so that women can fully participate in delivering their duties towards their people, country and nation.”
“Presently, women are being treated unfairly in Iraqi society. The representation is very limited …….and if it were not for the 25 percent quota given to the women by the constitution, we would have fewer women parliamentarians in Iraq. The number of women holding high posts at the government administration level is dwindling instead of going up because there isn’t a strong belief in the abilities of women and no strong laws or constitutional articles pushing for the participation of women,” she added.
Subsequent to the December meeting, women leaders have continued advocating for their democratic rights at their party level. While some of the political parties have apparently increased their women leaders, others are yet to heed to the call of their female fellows.
Chnarsaad Abdullah, a member of the Peace Women’s leadership group and a senior official of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), says they have the position but lack the voice.
“Today we invited the men who are in the high position to remind them that we want to be part of the decision … if they want to be part of the democratic process and build a democratic culture they cannot do it alone …We reminded them that we are in existence and we have a voice and a role to play”.
By Celia Thompson/UNAMI PIO