ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Women in the Kurdistan Region have prepared a program for the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet to increase the political participation of women and boost their representation in government institutions.
Chinar Saad Abdullah, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) Research and Academy Center, stated that their reform project for female representation in the new KRG cabinet will be handed to the KDP politburo, the election winner and leading party in the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
“We want to deliver our message to [KDP] President [Masoud] Barzani, [Deputy KDP head] Nechirvan Barzani, and Masrour Barzani who will form the new cabinet as Prime Minister, for them to review the low number of women in government and correct the gender imbalance,” Abdullah told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
She also called on all women in the Kurdistan Region to cooperate in alleviating burdens the reform project may face and ensure its success.
Jwan Younis Rozhbayani, a KDP lawmaker in the Kurdistan Parliament, says the bulk of their project, for now, is to secure 30 percent of KRG posts for women through a special bill passed in parliament.
Currently, the quota system requires 30 percent of lawmakers in the Kurdistan Parliament to be female. Women aim to secure the same percentage in the allotment of KRG posts.
“Over the past decade, despite the low number of women in KRG cabinets, they have been able to play a significant role. Now, we want the number to grow so that more chances will be given to women to shine,” Rozhbayan told Kurdistan 24.
In a historic vote on Feb. 18, Vala Fareed became the first female parliamentary speaker of Kurdistan after being nominated by the KDP, and Muna Kahveci, from the Turkmen Reform Party, was elected as second deputy speaker.
According to Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol, Dr. Nazand Begikhani, women in Kurdistan have proven that they can be good leaders despite many challenges.
Local experts believe that the leading Kurdish parties, the KDP with 45 seats and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) with 21, would have a large influence when raising the number of women appointed to government positions since the share of assigned govermantal posts usually reflects the number seats won.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Renas Ali)