Remember how the Bush’s administration used women’s rights as an emotional appeal when selling the Iraq War to us back in the day? During the 2004 Republican National Convention, Bush claimed that with the “use of American power” in Afghanistan and Iraq, “young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming.”
Iraqi and Afghani women are still waiting. It turns out that the status of women has actually gotten worse since 2003 when America declared itself oppressed women’s knights-in-shining-armor. On everything from maternity leave to workforce representation, women have suffered, and now political leadership is waning. According to the New York Times:
Iraqi women hoped that last year’s election would cement a larger role for them in the government. But they have less political influence today than at any time since the American invasion.
No women took part in the protracted negotiations to reach a compromise government. And despite holding a quarter of the seats in Parliament, only one woman runs a ministry: women’s affairs, a largely ceremonial department with a tiny budget and few employees.
In the previous government from 2006 to 2010, four women led ministries, and in the government from 2005 to 2006, six did, including the influential ones governing public works, refugees and communications.