Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Women's Issues: UNICEF says women's rights essential to Iraq's recovery

Iraqi women need urgent action to protect and promote their rights, UNICEF's Iraq Office said today. The call follows the launch of a global UNICEF report saying that equal rights for women is the key to stronger societies.

The State of the World's Children 2007, released on UNICEF's 60th anniversary, says that eliminating gender discrimination and empowering women will yield a "double dividend" - profoundly impacting the lives of the world's women and boosting the survival and well-being of children. It says that despite progress for women in recent decades, millions of girls and women are still overshadowed by discrimination, disempowerment and poverty.

Iraq is a society that has traditionally celebrated and empowered women. But today's Iraqi women and girls are living in uniquely challenging times. Their rights in the home, school, workplace and political sphere are under threat.

"Women should be equal partners in the future of Iraq, but their rights risk slipping away without positive action to protect them," said UNICEF Representative for Iraq, Roger Wright. "Now more than ever, equal participation for women is fundamental to Iraq's recovery."

Wright said that violence and insecurity in parts of Iraq are curtailing women's freedoms, while poverty limits their access to basic services such as health care. He stressed that if women are healthy, educated and equal partners in decision-making, children are more likely to thrive and communities prosper.

Source: UNICEF