Women Will Take 25% of Iraq's Parliamentary Seats

Behind the Veil| The final results from Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election are due this week. Little noted in the American press is the fact that 25 percent of the seats will be awarded to women, in an attempt to involve more women in government.

Maysoun al Damlouji doesn’t know yet if she’s in the lead for a seat. 

“As long as there is a quota, people perceive women as gap-fillers and not deserving members of parliament,” said Damlouji, who’s still unsure if she’ll get a seat. “The perception of a man is as an individual, but for women it’s as a bloc. So if one woman failed, it’s as if the entire womanhood has failed.” via McClatchy

In a move that may surprise Western readers, the female candidates of militant Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr enjoyed organized support, winning many of their seats without the quota in a political strategy that may shift the “women’s vote” in his direction. Female candidates who won their seats outright will be placed ahead of their quota-assisted counterparts.