Iraqi Governing Council May Be Expanded, Women Demand More Voice

Several members of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council stated that they are discussing plans to double the size of the current Governing Council in order to make it more legitimate.

According to the New York Times, members of the Council want to reach out to more groups so the Iraqi people are more represented. The Governing Council has 25 members, of which only three are women. In addition, none of the 24 constitutional committee members are women.

According to Mercury News, more than 600 women attended a meeting of the Iraqi National Council of Woman to discuss ways to increase their voice in society. One of the three female members of the Governing Council, Rajaa Khuzai, stated at the meeting that Iraqi women “need to build a strong society, away from those who would oppress us…We want women to have at least 40 percent representation in the next stage of government,” reports Mercury News.

Meanwhile, according to Agence France Presse, the legal advisor to one of the Council members expressed concern that there was little support for women’s rights among the drafters of the interim constitution.

According to the advisor, “it is very discouraging to hear such paternalistic remarks from some members. There are some very condescending attitudes and it is an ill omen for the future of women’s rights,” AFP reports.

The Feminist Majority is urging for more women’s participation in the Iraqi Governing Council and constitutional committee. Women make up the majority of Iraq’s population and are pushing for at least 40 percent representation in the next stages of government.

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Agence France Presse 2.22.04; Mercury News 2/22/04; New York Times 2/19/04

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