Iraqi Women Pressured to Run for Office, Fill Quota

Many candidates in Anbar are wives of tribal leaders
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2009 6:43 PM CST
Omayah Naji Jubara, the 33-year-old head of the Iraqi and Arabic Women's Organization for Salahuddin province speaks on problems facing women in northern Iraq.   (AP Photo/Kim Gamel)
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(Newser) – Iraq has new rules to boost women's rights, but it may take a while for the nation's culture to get up to speed, Time reports. In this month's provincial elections, for instance, 25% of newly elected council members must be female. But in provinces such as Anbar, the idea of women in politics is regarded largely as a legal necessity—not an opportunity. "I don't want to be a candidate. He forced it on me," said one woman of her husband, a party leader.

In Anbar, female candidates are barred from campaigning or putting up posters because it's considered indecorous. One tribal leader suggested that women should run because they are less corrupt: "We prefer to have women in the local councils because women won't steal money from the council—maybe just a little for their makeup."