ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations on Thursday highlighted the Kurdistan Region’s progress efforts toward gender equality and harmony between different ethnicities and faiths.
The comments came after Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director for the Arab States for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) led a delegation to the office of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
In the meeting, Barzani and Naciri discussed methods to support, enable, and promote women to take on roles in political and economic fields and how to encourage them to run for public office, read a social media post by UN women summarizing the session.
The guests praised “the advances of the Kurdistan Region in the areas of gender equality, women’s rights, overcoming difficult challenges, and the coexistence between different religions and nationalities,” read another statement, released by the KRG.
It stated that PM Barzani stressed the value of UN’s activities and cooperation with KRG’s institutions and placed special emphasis on the organization’s promotion of gender equality, women's rights, and coexistence in educational, media, and cultural programs. It continued, saying the UN had reaffirmed it would continue relevant programs in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Although both Baghdad and Erbil employ a quota system to ensure greater female participation in both the national and regional parliaments—25 and 30 percent, respectively— the political, social, and economic condition of women in the Kurdistan Region is, on the whole, better than in the rest of the country, noted a university professor in a recent Kurdistan 24 opinion piece.
In another, Chairperson of the Business Administration Department at Komar University of Science and Technology Dr. Mamta Singh said, “Iraq’s 2014 Human Development Report presents a gender inequality index which shows that Kurdistan stands at 0.41 on the index compared to Iraq which is 0.55.”
Singh hints, however, that the country as a whole, noting Kurdistan Region’s more welcoming environment towards women, still has a long way to go to achieve an equal society.
She points out the study rightly mentioned “that the improvements at the top have yet to trickle down,” meaning that the special reserved seats in parliament have not reverberated across all institutions and, therefore, she urges, the region must employ greater action on this matter.
Editing by John J. Catherine