FOCUS: Women in Iraq

By Jodi Wynn, intern
As democracy takes a step in Iraq, traditional gender roles and the strong ties between religion and government are major obstacles for women. According to a recent report by Amnesty International, women are more confined and limited since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. Although the report acknowledged that women faced institutionalized violence prior to Saddam’s fall, it also noted that since the occupation they wear headscarves more often, and avoid school and work due to fears of fundamentalist reprisals. The report also raised concerns of gender-based intimidation and sexual threats by U.S. soldiers, including against female political detainees. Washington said it would review the findings.