Amnesty International reports that the women of Iraq have suffered substantial setbacks in their rights since the US invasion, and live in a condition of dire insecurity.
The suggestion by some that the guarantee of 1/3 of seats in the Iraqi parliament to women might make up for the situation described by Amnesty is of course absurd. Iraq is not the first country to have such a quota. It was put into effect in Pakistan by Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The move was meant to weaken Muslim fundamentalists, on the theory that women members of parliament would object to extreme patriarchy on the Khomeini or Taliban model. In fact, the Jama’at‑i Islami, the main fundamentalist party in Pakistan, was perfectly capable of finding women to represent it in parliament. (US readers should remember Phyllis Schlafly!) Moreover, the 1/3 of MPs who are women can fairly easily be outvoted by the men.
Might not the US be a better country if there were 33 women senators and more like 120 congresswomen? If your answer is that it wouldn’t matter, then you cannot very well insist that it does matter in Iraq. If you think it would be important, then if you support it in Iraq you should support it in the United States.
Honestly, demanding that the invasion of Iraq improve the lot of women is like expecting the tax cut to raise revenue, the Clear Skies program to clear the skies, the Healthy Forests initiative to make forests healthier, Social Security reform to extend the program’s financial security, or that electing Republicans would actually bring about “moral” legislation. Next they’ll expect sex ed classes to actually educate about sex.