[Picture: Iraqi women voters in the last election.]
The coming Iraqi parliamentary election cycle, scheduled for April 30, is marked by an intensive presence of female candidates on the different lists of Iraqi political blocs, with women representing 2,960 out of 11,000 total candidates.
Iraq’s Electoral Law requires the blocs participating in the elections to have at least one woman candidate for every three male candidates, which means at least 25% of all candidates should be women. The blocs usually have to search for women to fill this quota.
However, the current electoral session stands out, due to the participation of several women academics, journalists and civil society activists. Most of them have a vision for change, unlike most participating male candidates who do not even have an electoral program.
Contrary to the previous parliamentary terms, the current term is characterized by the candidacy of many women expressing more tolerance, openness and social and political awareness, be it through their clothing, topics or agenda.
Many Iraqis have been talking about this on social media sites, and the current electoral session is bound to witness a unique parliamentary presence for Iraqi women.
Iraq might be on the verge of a new stage, after the failure to govern the country for the past 11 years. It is no coincidence that this stage is accompanied by rising voices of civil movements and figures at the expense of religious ones, which have been losing momentum.
The voices of the latter have been drowning out others in the same streets that have grown tired of their slogans focused on the injustice and crimes of the former regime. There is a new generation innocent of everything related to the past stage — a generation of youth.
They are aware of democracy, which, despite its limitations, allows them to think out loud and participate in political activities.
This new breeze has also contributed to increasing the number of female candidates running for the coming parliamentary elections. Educated women holding university degrees and diplomas of higher studies in different fields are clearly present in the elections.