Years of repression, economic sanctions, and armed conflicts have led to deterioration in the lives of women in Iraq and an associated loss to the country since women are marginalized and unable to contribute economically, socially, and politically. Iraqi women today suffer from a lack of educational opportunities, a lack of health care and limited access to the labour market as well as high levels of violence and inequality. These conditions are often exacerbated by misconceptions of traditions, cultural and social values, false perceptions, and a lack of awareness of women’s rights and potential, as well as institutional and legal barriers.
The United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 and the Millennium Development Goal 3 underline the significant role of women in poverty reduction and development, in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and in peace-building. The Government of Iraq, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), identifies women’s empowerment as a priority and is committed to improving gender equality and women’s rights. At the same time, the UN Development Assistance Framework 2011-2014, developed in close cooperation with the GoI, recognizes women as part of the human resources crucial for Iraq’s longterm socio-economic development.