Challenges facing Iraqi women in elections

Challenges facing Iraqi women in elections

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Challenges facing Iraqi women in elections

But it seems, this time as well as the previous ones, the road is not paved with roses for women’s participation and candidacy in the elections, as they face intertwined difficulties and obstacles, not comparable to what their male counterpart may face.

Many female candidates are subjected to various types of harassment and targeting, mostly based on one background, which is the weakening and degrading of women, and the underestimation of their ability to play an effective role in the public and political sphere, according to civil organizations and activists in the field of defending women, and their right to electoral and political participation.

Regarding the electoral reality of Iraqi women, parliamentarian Rizan Sheikh Mustafa said in an interview with Sky News Arabia: “The picture is not completely bleak. The Iraqi government, for example, through the Department of Women Empowerment, and in coordination with relevant ministries such as the Interior, has allocated a hotline for each parliamentary candidate. To immediately inform the Iraqi authorities if they are subjected to any harassment, especially on social media platforms.

She considers that communication sites “unfortunately have become the first tool used by opponents of the emergence and development of the role of Iraqi women, by defaming female candidates and distorting their reputation, and fabricating false stories around them, to negatively affect their chances of success.”

Mustafa added, “If any female candidate files a complaint against a party, for example, she insults and challenges her, by opening fake personal accounts in her name on Facebook or Instagram, or in any other way. This is considered as an urgent lawsuit, which must be considered by the judges. immediately”.

And the Iraqi parliamentarian continues: “Undoubtedly, political parties and forces bear the primary responsibility for protecting women candidates, and preventing exposure to and incitement against them, because the parties are in fact the ones that, in the context of competition among themselves, target women candidates more than anyone else. Every party and political party is trying to undermine from the opposing party’s filters, and so on.”

Rizan explains the reasons for the decrease in the number of female candidates by half during this upcoming election cycle, saying: “The nature of the distribution of electoral districts this time according to the new electoral law, contributed to reducing the number of female candidates, as the nomination of various forces and competing parties for women was limited to the number that corresponds to the minimum satisfactory level. A condition that the representation of women in the Iraqi parliament is achieved, which amounts to a quarter of the seats in the House of Representatives.

And she continues: “In addition, of course, to other objective and subjective obstacles that impede the march of women in Iraq to prove themselves and their equal participation.”

For his part, Professor of Political Science, Muhannad Al-Janabi, said in statements to Sky News Arabia, that “the reality of restrictions on women and the suppression of their rights in general, is not only limited to obstructing their role in the general elections, but is a deep-rooted phenomenon related to the society’s negative culture regarding the rights of women.” women, and to prevent their blackmail and abuse.

He added, “It is true that there are, in principle, laws that are deterrent to some extent, especially to guarantee women’s rights and prevent infringement, but the lesson remains in the application, as most cases of abuse of women, including those running for elections, take place through social media platforms.”

He explains: “This puts the judicial and regulatory authorities in the trap of controversial issues related to freedom of expression and opinion, and the misuse of social media, and this creates obstacles to stopping this extensive electronic blackmail of women, and I do not imagine that it is possible to address this thorny issue, except according to a comprehensive strategy. To deal with the sensitive file, time is of course short, and it is impossible to achieve all of this before the election date.”

Al-Janabi added: “No matter how low the electoral participation rates are, general and women’s in particular, the women’s share remains guaranteed according to the women’s quota system, which guarantees women’s representation in the Iraqi parliament at 25 percent of the total number of parliament seats, i.e. up to 83 A female parliamentarian out of 329 members of parliament.

The number of female candidates for the upcoming Iraqi elections is 951 out of 3,243 candidates, who will run in the general elections next October.

While the last elections in 2018, recorded a wider participation of women, with nearly two thousand female candidates, which represents almost double the number of current female candidates, during the upcoming elections within 3 weeks.

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