Women in Iraq are putting their lives at risk as candidates for political office in the upcoming elections. According to the LA Times, most of the female candidates are running in secret because women have been particularly targeted by religious fundamentalists. One female candidate was killed near her home in December and another survived an assassination attempt while her son was killed, reports the LA Times. As a result, several of the female candidates are sending their families out of Iraq for safety before the elections take place on January 30.
Twenty Congresswomen traveled to Iraq recently to teach Iraqi women about campaigns, where they realized that the candidates were facing obstacles that were much different from what they came prepared to discuss, according to USA Today. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) said, “The normal things that a candidate would do are inappropriate to talk about” because “this is an election in a combat zone,” reports the Contra Costa Times.
Iraq’s interim constitution sets aside, as a minimum, 25 percent of the seats in the legislature for women.