The project “Women think Iraq anew” strove to empower female members of the National Council of Representatives as well as women from civil society, politics, academia and the legal profession to develop a joint vision for the future of their country. 
The project promoted new approaches ensuring the participation of women in democratic, societal and peace processes, as well as in state-building on a local, regional, and national scale. During the first year, in 2017, the participating women jointly developed a political memorandum putting forth a vision for a new Iraq. You can read how the participants want to improve the situation of women in the country in Arabic, English and German.

2018 was an important year for the country: The unclear outcome of the parliamentary elections held in May 2018, the postponed counting of votes and the ensuing protests in the south dominated political debates. In this challenging environment, elbarlament – cultures of democracy established a network of female members of the newly elected Council or Representatives.

2019 has been no less challenging for Iraq. Before countrywide protests arose in October 2019,  elbarlament – cultures of democracy focused its work on improving the legal situation of Iraqi women: in cooperation with Ms Haifa Alamin, Member of Parliament and director of the Women’s committee in the Council of Representatives, the participants discussed and amended a draft bill on fighting domestic violence – a bill that was introduced to the parliament in 2010 but that never has been voted on.

Another important issue that the project’s participants addressed was the situation (“personal status”) of Yezidi women and their children born out of rape by ISIS fighters. They proposed amendments to the so called “Yezidi bill” that the parliament had proposed in April 2019 and sent them to the legal committee of the CoR for consideration.

Rampant corruption remained a major problem in Iraq in 2019. In September, elbarlament organised a workshop that dealt with this issue,  focusing on practical means for promoting integrity and fighting corruption. The workshop resulted in a catalogue of recommendations for civil society organisations and governmental institutions. The recommendations were presented by lawyer Dr Bushra Alobeidi and Ms Ban Thanoon at a round table during the high ranking RCD Forum in Baghdad on 27 September. A PDF version of the recommendations is available for download in English or Arabic.

Learn more – watch our video about the project.

Our local network

Since 2013, elbarlament – cultures of democracy has established a broad network of trusted local partners in Iraq and developed valuable country-specific expertise. This allows us to work on the ground, in a still very challenging context. We are proud and grateful for gaining the trust of Iraqi women, whether members of the protest movements, civil society or the national parliament.

The project is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) programme “zivik”, with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Our project manager Alisha Molter will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the project.

Cultural Initiatives for Civil Society in Iraq
Arts-based approaches to peace-building in Iraq