Hiyam Ali – Researcher at Al-Bayan Center – Department of Women’s Studies
The effects of long decades of wars and internal conflicts have been reflected in political and social life in Iraq. Twenty years after the democratic transition process, Iraq still falls within the hybrid democratic system, or partially authoritarian according to the Global Democracy Index, indicating the system’s stagnation and its rigidity toward fundamental democratic transformation. This stagnation is reflected in the performance of the political system and its ability to provide services and grant and protect freedoms in all forms, including political freedoms. However, the ideological nature of Islamic political parties and their policies based on personal gain pushed for significant changes, the most recent of which was the entry of ISIS into western Iraq. In 2019, significant protests erupted in central and southern Iraq.
Women participated in an unprecedented way in the protests after they were the most affected parties by the successive policies in Iraq that produced wars, unemployment, and poor services, in addition to the absence of feminist representation of women’s issues within the political system. Hence, women had an unbridled desire for change and became an essential part of it. It can be said that post-2019 represents the second stage of the democratic transition in Iraq, which witnessed the establishment of new opposition parties with civil intellectual orientations joined by women after participating in the protest movement.
This study aims to learn more about women’s situation within emerging parties; Is there active participation of women within these parties? Do women have a role in making decisions? Do women participate in critical meetings; Is their opinion considered in the development of partisan politics?
This study also seeks to know emerging parties’ intellectual methodologies: Is what they adopt authentic and applicable within their structure? How do leaders of emerging parties and members deal with women within the party? How does the presence of women in emerging parties differ from their presence in traditional parties?
Interviews with leading women within emerging parties and female activists from the protest movement were conducted in this study. The researcher coded the interviewed females’ names and did not mention any emerging parties so that the paper would not be misinterpreted as promoting one party over the other; The researcher took into account the recency of the political experience of the emerging parties. This paper aims to shed light on the situation of women within emerging parties and provide recommendations that may help these parties to improve the political reality of women within them.
First: Women And Protest: An Unexpected Social Actor
The protest erupted in an unprecedented way that the political history of Iraq has never witnessed, driven by the revolutionary forces of a generation that nobody expected to be able to move a pawn on a chessboard yet proved their ability to checkmate the King.
These protests were not isolated from reality but rather a natural reflection of young people’s anger about this system that provided them with nothing but unemployment and poor services. It is a generation that is open to the world and compares its life with other people’s lives worldwide.

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