Outrage as Iraqi women’s affairs minister opposes equality for women

By Mufid Abdulla:

Abtihal Alzidi

Abtihal Alzidi: "I am against women's equality"

Last week Abtihal Alzidi, the Iraqi minister for women’s affairs in Nuri Al Maliki’s government, told a local news agency that she does not believe in equality between women and men in Iraq.

”I am against the equality between men and woman”, she said. “If women are equal to men they are going to lose a lot. Up to now I am with the power of the man in society. If I go out of my house, I have to tell my husband where I am going. This does not mean diluting the role of woman in society but, on the contrary, it will bring more power to the woman as a mother who looks after their kids and brings up their children”.

This statement has caused a lot of outrage. MP Mrs Hala Safia asked the deputy of the Iraqi parliament to call the women’s affairs minister to parliament for questioning. Hala Safia’s father was assassinated by Saddam’s thugs in Beirut in the 1980s and she has since become active in politics, working with Dr Alawi’s Aleraqia list. She is married to the Kurdish human rights activist Bhaktyar Ameen.

The Organisation for Woman’s Emancipation in Iraq also condemned Abtihal Alzidi’s outrageous statement and called for the dissolution of her ministerial department.

According to Article 14 of the Iraqi constitution all Iraqis are equal, regardless of their sex, religion, colour, ethnicity, origin and tribe.

Does Abtihal Alzidi not realise the new role of women in today’s politics? Denmark’s and Germany’s prime ministers are women. Margaret Thatcher was a prime minster for 12 years. In Sweden, women hold 25 per cent of managerial roles (compared to 6 per cent in the UK).

Without the participation of women in the workforce, the growth and prosperity of the nation cannot be achieved. The Iraqi women’s affairs minister is reflecting the backward thinking of some individuals of the Shia tribe with her regressive attitude towards women.  Abtihal Alzidi should resign now and apologise for her deplorable remarks towards half of the society.

We can go on from the above to conclude that:

  1. The political class running Iraq is nothing other than a shadow of the Iranians, believing in Shia government.
  2. The standard of the politicians nowadays running the Iraqi government and in charge of people’s daily lives is not much different in mentality from Saddam’s regime.
  3. Politics cannot work under the rule of the current Iraqi cabinet of Nuri Al Maliki and the unity of Iraq is fragmented because of these types of attitudes to human rights issues, etc.

Copyright © 2011 Kurdistantribune.com

12 Responses to Outrage as Iraqi women’s affairs minister opposes equality for women
  1. Azad Ezzat
    February 14, 2012 | 15:03

    I believe this lady has misspoken in some ways, but to outright claim that men and women are completely equal and should be held equally accountable in everything in life is the farthest thing from the rules of nature. Men and Women have been created different, whether we like it or not. There are things a man can do that the majority of women can never do, while we can all agree there are things a woman can do that no man on earth can achieve (one of which is motherhood care). There is no society on earth that can offer complete equality between the two genders, just because it is not logical. We have to understand the natural make up of the two genders, their limitations, and their abilities, and male expectations accordingly. Otherwise, why don’t we have mixed sports teams composed of men and women? In the most developed western societies why is a basketball court. Designed differently between men and women? Wouldn’t that be demeaning?

    Having said that, we all have to agree that backward understanding of religion and cultural values have led misplacement of rules. A woman has all equal rights to live, to build society, to learn, teach, work, just as a man does, but each within their natural limits. A woman doctor who is pregnant or just gave birth to a baby cannot be expected to work the same heavy work as a man who doesn’t have half the emotional and physical burdens. Unfortunately, every time men and women have been declared unequal, it has for the most part been used to achieve political or religious agendas for personal gains to oppress women. It’s time to understand the makeup and roles of men and women separately, so we can treat women better. Today, western women claim to be the most free, yet with the highest rates of domestic violence, forced prostitution, and suicides. Ignorant cloaks for or against women or men rights without consideration for natural rules can only be detrimental to the society.

  2. kuvan Bamarny
    February 15, 2012 | 01:11

    Both men and women are human beings that have the same basic needs,food shelter ,clothing ,love, respect ,care ,pleasure,good job ,happy life and so on.
    There are both ,good and bad in each side.I have seen men that treat women like a slave . And I have also seen women that treat men like slave too.
    I believe only mutual love, care, respect ,fairness ,and honesty can define the true equality between men and women.

  3. […] is only one woman minister among 44 positions. But even this appointment contains a grim irony: the minister for women’s affairs, Ibtihal al-Zaidi, didn’t hesitate to […]

  4. […] solo hay una mujer ministro. Pero incluso este nombramiento contiene una lúgubre ironía: la ministra para Asuntos de las Mujeres, Ibtihal al-Zaidi, no dudó en […]

  5. […] only one woman minister among 44 positions. But even this appointment contains a grim irony: the minister for women’s affairs, Ibtihal al-Zaidi, didn’t hesitate to […]

  6. […] Meanwhile, there is just one female minister serving in Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki’s government. Her name is Abtihal Alzidi and she is the Iraqi Minister for Women’s Affairs. But don’t let her gender fool you. Alzidi is an outspoken proponent of misogyny, once telling a local news outlet: […]

  7. Yvette
    August 6, 2013 | 15:33

    Do you happen to have a video or a written transcript of the interview in which Ms. Al-Zaidi made this statement against equality?

    I am currently writing a report into gender equality in post-2003 Iraq and it would be very helpful for me to have some of the original evidence of these claims for analysis.

    Many thanks!
    Yvette

  8. […] February 14, 2012, Mufid Abdulla (Kurdistan Tribune) reported: Last week Abtihal Alzidi, the Iraqi minister for women’s affairs in Nuri Al Maliki’s government, told a local news agency that she does not believe in equality between women and men in Iraq.”I am against the equality between men and woman”, she said. “If women are equal to men they are going to lose a lot. Up to now I am with the power of the man in society. If I go out of my house, I have to tell my husband where I am going. This does not mean diluting the role of woman in society but, on the contrary, it will bring more power to the woman as a mother who looks after their kids and brings up their children”.This statement has caused a lot of outrage. MP Mrs Hala Safia asked the deputy of the Iraqi parliament to call the women’s affairs minister to parliament for questioning. Hala Safia’s father was assassinated by Saddam’s thugs in Beirut in the 1980s and she has since become active in politics, working with Dr Alawi’s Aleraqia list. She is married to the Kurdish human rights activist Bhaktyar Ameen. The Organisation for Woman’s Emancipation in Iraq also condemned Abtihal Alzidi’s outrageous statement and called for the dissolution of her ministerial department. […]

  9. […] Mufid Abdulla, “Outrage as Iraqi women’s affairs minister opposes equality for women”, Kurdistantribune , 14 de febrero de […]

  10. […] han obtenido sus puestos gracias a certificados y titulaciones falsas”. 14. Mufid Abdulla, “Outrage as Iraqi women’s affairs minister opposes equality for women”, Kurdistantribune, 14 de febrero de 2012. 15. Catherine Philp, “Iraq’s women of power who […]

  11. […] Meanwhile, there is just one female minister serving in Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki’s government. Her name is Abtihal Alzidi and she is the Iraqi Minister for Women’s Affairs. But don’t let her gender fool you. Alzidi is an outspoken proponent of misogyny, once telling a local news outlet: […]

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