Iraqi women's affairs minister resigns in protest
Iraq's minister of women's affairs resigned on Thursday in protest at a lack of resources to cope with "an army of widows, unemployed, oppressed and detained women" after years of occupation.
Nawal al-Samarai said her status as a secretary of state and not a full minister reflected the low emphasis given by the government to the plight of women in Iraq, once one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East for women's rights.
"This ministry with its current title cannot cope with the needs of Iraqi women," said Samarai, who was appointed in July.
"We have many problems related to Iraqi women. We have an army of widows, unemployed, oppressed and detained women. I feel like I am sitting in a minister's chair enjoying the privileges of a minister but I cannot act as one," she told Reuters.
Women's groups have complained the new system used in this year's polls could mean women win fewer seats than in the last local polls in 2005.
Samarai said her department had only been assigned a single office in the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad where many government offices and foreign embassies are located. She had no offices in the provinces where the needs of women were greatest.
"Because there is not a single office in any province, how can any Iraqi woman reach me or send me her complaints?" she said.
Reuters Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2009, 14:51