Just another sign of how far Iraq has to go:
The Iraqi government has ordered all policewomen to hand in their guns for redistribution to men or face having their pay withheld, thwarting a U.S. initiative to bring women into the nation’s police force.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, issued the order late last month, according to ministry documents, U.S. officials and several of the women. It affects all officers who have earned the title “policewoman” by graduating from the police academy. It does not apply to men in the same type of jobs.
This is pretty ridiculous. Womens’ rights is one of the major stumbling blocks in the Middle East. Well, okay, it’s a stumbling block everywhere. But especially in the Middle East.
I noted women in the Iraqi security forces a while back and that this trouble with US-led initiatives to integrate women into the security forces was facing an uphill battle.
One thing I’d also like to point out is the sentence following the section I quoted above:
Critics say the move is the latest sign of the religious and cultural conservatism that has taken hold in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s ouster ushered in a government dominated by Shiite Muslims.
Now, I understand the concern over fundamentalism and such, but the way that sentence is written makes it sound like the problem of too few female police officers is one that’s popped up since Hussein’s “ouster”.
Oooh nooo. Now that Saddam is gone the big bad Shiites are making things unfair in Iraq. What a bunch of meanies.
Must be Bush’s fault that female Iraqi police officers aren’t getting a fair shake.