[JURIST] Women in Iraq had better quality of life and received more respect for their rights under Saddam Hussein's regime than the current system, according to a survey conducted by the Baghdad-based Woman Freedom Organization [advocacy website]. According to the group, women's rights were guaranteed in the constitution under Saddam, and women held important government positions. Now, however, security concerns have forced many women to remain at home, and the Islamic law making up the foundations of the new constitution [JURIST news archive] has been applied so as to suppress women [advocacy op-ed], the group complains. Officials within the government disagree, claiming that women can more readily express their political views and now hold positions in government that had been denied them under Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive].
The survey also noted an increase in unemployment and poverty levels for women. The number of widows has gone up as well, compounding a problem that has existed since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. IRIN has more.