May 24, 2006  


Reps. Granger, Tauscher Applaud Appointment of Four Women to Permanent Iraqi Cabinet; Members Cite A Good Step Forward for Iraqi Women


WASHINGTON, D.C.-Chairwomen of the Iraqi Women's Caucus, Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), today cited Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's appointment of four Iraqi women to his permanent Cabinet as a good step forward for women's rights in Iraq.

"Having four women named to Cabinet posts in the new permanent government is a positive step forward for Iraqi women," said Congresswoman Granger. "No longer in a transitional government, these appointments give women a real opportunity to ensure women's rights are preserved under the constitution and in Iraqi society. I remain committed to supporting the women as they work to ensure their rights are recognized and maintained, along with all Iraqis." 

The four women elected to the Iraqi Cabinet are Mrs. Bayan Daza'i, a Sunni Kurd, Minister of Housing and Construction; Mrs. Narmin Uthman, a Kurd, Minister of Environment; Mrs. Wijdan Mikha'il, a Christian, Minister of Human Rights; and Mrs. Fatin Abd-al-Rahman Mahmoud, a Sunni, Minister of State for Women's Affairs. There are 40 permanent Iraqi Cabinet positions. 

"Preserving women's rights is a key aspect of ensuring a sovereign, democratic State eventually emerges in Iraq," noted Congresswoman Tauscher.  "Having four women appointed to Cabinet positions is a definite step towards this important goal.  My hope is that Iraq continues to recognize the contributions women can and will make to the future of their government so that we can begin to see a more stable and a safe Iraq for all parties involved."

While historically women in Iraq have enjoyed relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East, their rights under Saddam Hussein's regime were severely deteriorated. Since the U.S. led-invasion in Iraq, women's rights largely have been restored. This is partly due to a provision in the constitution that stipulates every third name on an election ballot be that of a woman. Iraq currently has the greatest political participation by women of any country in the Middle East.

Iraqi women still have hurdles to overcome. The Iraqi Government will soon begin review of many key issues in the constitution, some of which could affect women's rights.

Granger serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. She also serves as a Deputy Majority Whip. Granger is the first and only female Republican to serve in the Texas House delegation. Granger represents the 12th District of Texas and is currently serving her fifth term in Congress.

Tauscher serves on the House Armed Services Committee as well as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She also serves as the Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a moderate coalition of forty-five pro-business, pro-defense, pro-trade Members of the United States Congress.