Despite efforts by U.S. forces to recruit and train women for jobs in the Iraqi security forces, just over 1,000 have been trained, many have quit and those who remain say they are struggling for acceptance.
“We’re in our posts because the Americans are here,” the army commander said. “Once they leave, we will all be out.”
The U.S. military has pushed since 2003 to have more women recruited and trained, arguing that female officers can search and gather intelligence from other women and serve as neutral peacekeepers, U.S. commanders say.
The female army officer interviewed said that when she first started, American female soldiers would often visit her command post to offer advice.
“I was always asking how things were for them. I was always wishing our laws would match theirs,” she said.
I’ve written a number of times that women’s rights is probably a far larger issue in Iraq than we usually hear about. Though it’s critical to long-term success, a women’s component to the security forces will take years, more likely decades, to reach the point it needs to be.
No women have been recruited to the Baghdad police academy since early 2006, a few months after the US handed operations over to Iraqi authorities.