The issue of women’s rights in Iraq has taken on new relevance, following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, efforts to reconstruct Iraq, and recent elections for a Transitional National Assembly (TNA). Over the past three years, the Bush Administration has reiterated its interest in ensuring that Iraqi women participate in politics and ongoing reconstruction efforts in Iraq. There has also been a widening debate regarding the extent to which the U.S.-led reconstruction efforts have been able to enhance women’s rights in Iraq and encourage their participation in Iraq’s governing institutions.
This report reviews the U.S.-sponsored funding and programs directed toward women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq. The national and international response to the plight of Afghan and Iraqi women, even to their most recent experience under the Taliban in Afghanistan or Baathist regime in Iraq, will impact their future role and the long-term developments in each country, such as the implementation of a new constitution, the incorporation of women in local and national governance, the role of Islam and the state, the growth of the economy, the curbing of security concerns, and the role of U.S. and international assistance. This report will be updated as events warrant.