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Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Minister for Women what steps she is taking to ensure that Iraqi women play a full part in the leadership of Iraq. [110339]

The UK Government is a strong supporter of UN Security Council Resolution 1,325 which emphasises the importance of the inclusion of women into all aspects of post conflict reconstruction and peace operations, and strongly supports its effective implementation in post conflict Iraq. As Minister for Women I am extremely concerned that Iraqi women play a full role in the reconstruction and leadership of their country. Together with colleagues across Government I am taking several initiatives to fulfil this aim, these include:

An ongoing dialogue with Iraqi women exiles,
Awareness raising within the Office for Reconstruction and Development (ORHA) on the importance of promoting the involvement of women in all aspects of the reconstruction of Iraq,
Nomination of female participants at meetings to discuss the Interim Iraqi Administration (IIA),
Active encouragement of UK NGOs in this process,
Use of Freedom TV to encourage Iraqi women to participate in reconstruction, Plans for a women's conference to feed into the creation of the IIA,
Secondment of a UK government gender equality expert to work in ORHA.