Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Iraq: Where are Iraq’s women?

Iraq, some women fear, is in danger of becoming a man's world. Efforts to establish an interim government that reflects the country's diverse ethnic and religious character are gathering pace.
But where are the women - who make up the majority of the population - in this
process? So far, there have been two meetings aimed at forging a
constitutional future for the country, but out of more than 250 delegates, only
six were women. They included representatives of the "Iraqi exile" working
groups set up by the State Department before the war. Elisabeth Rehn,
independent author of an extensive report for the United Nations, Women, War and
Peace, says she was shocked at how few women are involved in the process. "There
has been so much talk about how to reflect the diversity of Iraqi society - the
Shia, Sunnis and Kurds - but what about the women? Some 55% of the population
has been forgotten," she told BBC News Online. Ms Rehn said the issue needs to
be addressed urgently because choices are already beginning to be made about who
will be elected to official bodies.