Office of International Women's Issues
January 17, 2008
Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative
- Since 2004, the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues has overseen and implemented the Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative (IWDI).
- The first tranche of $10 million in 2004 was supplemented by $4.5 million in 2006.
- An additional $10 million in has been allocated by Congress for a third phase of women’s human rights and democracy programs in 2008-2009.
- The IWDI works through U.S. NGO partners on the ground in Iraq to build the capacity of Iraqi women.
- It is in keeping with this Administration's focus on transformational diplomacy.
- To date, programs under the IWDI already have trained some 7,000 Iraqi women in several key skill areas including: leadership, political participation, entrepreneurship, women’s rights advocacy, coalition building, negotiation, how to create women’s NGOs, and media skills, in addition to providing training on Iraqi women’s constitutional rights, and rights under international law.
- IWDI programs have established a Women’s Leadership Institute in Baghdad and democracy resource centers in four universities, and have provided political training to female candidates for public office and female Members of the Iraqi Parliament.
- IWDI programs have also established national, regional, and parliamentary Multi-Party Women’s Caucuses with over 150 members representing over 40 political parties. The Multi-Party Women’s Caucus created a national women’s advocacy agenda that called for the inclusion of specific women’s issues in the Iraqi policy debate. The national advocacy agenda reached 100 elected members of the national parliament and received signatures of support from 59 members.
- The second phase of the IWDI focused on women’s economic empowerment, capacity building for independent women’s non-governmental organizations, outreach to women in the grassroots, and leadership development for young women. In the past year, IWDI programs also have opened women’s resource centers in Basra and Kirkuk.
- Over the next two years, the third phase of the IWDI will expand upon accomplishments and the advancements of Iraqi women achieved under this Initiative since 2004.