Iraq Draft Constitution Calls For 40 Percent Women in Assembly

Members of the United States-appointed Iraqi Governing Council started debating a proposed constitution for Iraq’s interim government. According to the Washington Post, the plan calls for a three-member presidency and for at least 40 percent of the assembly and constitutional convention to be women.

The deadline for the document’s completion is February 28. Iraqi officials are expecting major disagreements and debates over the issues of quotas for women, the role of religion, and the possibility of federalism, reports the Washington Post. The legal advisor to the Governing Council, Salem Chalabi, believes that the quota for women will be reduced to 20 percent. In regards to religion, the proposed constitution states that Islam will be one source, rather than the sole source, of legislation. The designation of Islam as only one of the sources is also a source of contention for the conservative members of the Council.

Currently, only three women are members of the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council and no women are on the 24-member constitutional committee.

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Washington Post 2/1/04; Feminist News 1/8/04

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