Senior UN official urges donors to include Iraqi women in reconstruction efforts

“The capacity and skills of women in Iraq are considerable and we rely on those driving the humanitarian efforts in the country to ensure women are fully involved and able to influence the process,” said Joanne Sandler, Deputy Executive Director for Programme at the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).Ms. Sandler – speaking during a UNIFEM-sponsored panel discussion on the role of women in post-conflict Iraq held at UN Headquarters in New York – said it was important for women to have a say across all the sectors covered by the pledging conference in October agreed upon earlier this week by 52 countries as well as UN agencies and representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the US-run interim administration in Baghdad. UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer said the change of regime in Iraq presents an “opportunity for broader participation by women.” She said although Iraqi women have a long history of social mobilization, it was rather “static and hierarchical” under the old government.Nasreen Mustafa Sideek, Minister of Reconstruction and Development of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government and Hattie Babbitt, Senior Vice President of Women Waging Peace, were also part of the panel.

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