Iraqi Women's Minister Resigns in Protest

Budget cuts rob her of resources to help 'army of widows'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2009 6:23 PM CST
Nawal al-Samarraie talks to The Associated Press about her decision to resign as Iraq's state minister of women's affairs during an interview in Baghdad, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009.    (KARIM KADIM)
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(Newser) – Iraq's state minister for women's affairs has quit to protest a lack of resources for a daunting task—improving the lives of "a full army of widows" and other women left poor or abandoned by war. Nawal al-Samarraie told the AP how her office's budget was so tight that she often found herself dipping into her own pockets for the women who came begging for help.

She said she finally submitted her resignation last week in part because her budget was slashed from $7,500 to $1,500 per month, part of overall government spending cuts forced by plunging oil prices. The figure didn't include staff salaries. "I reached to the point that I will never be able to help the women," al-Samarraie said. "The budget is very limited ... so what can I do?"