Authors: Anwar, Ibrahim A.
Title: Promoting women’s participation in decision-making at the local level.
Other Titles: A case study of Barzan Sub-district in Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: This study was carried out in the context of participation in decision-making in the Barzan sub-district in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It focused on women’s participation in decision-making from the perspective of gender and development. Democratic governance and decentralisation served as the main theoretical framework and pre-condition for analyzing participation. Though the Kurdistan region has been moving towards democracy, decentralisation and participatory governance since 1992, there is a clear disparity between the involvement of men and women in the process. The involvement of women in the decision-making process at the local level in Kurdish society is limited. Based on this, the study explored and analyzed women’s access to decision-making, their influence on the decision-making process, and their constraints and opportunities in the process. The study investigated and assessed a number of critical issues including socio-economic, political culture and institutional factors that influenced women’s participation in decision-making. Based on these, the study sought to find answers as to how the participation of women in decision-making can be promoted for enhanced development to ensure maximum efficiency in pursuing development goals; and also how the participation of women at the local level can lead to changes in strategies for development at the local level. The study was conducted in the villages of Shri and Zorgvan in the Barzan sub-district of Kurdistan Region in the Federal Republic of Iraq. The research was largely qualitative in nature also made use of a combination of inductive and deductive methods. The case study research approach was adopted in this study. Data was collected from primary and secondary sources. The required data was gathered through questionnaire, interviews, focus group discussions, participant observations and relevant documents from government, and civil society organizations institutions. Data was collected from multiple sources and with multiple methods to ensure triangulation and assure the quality of data. The study revealed that, the triangle of traditional cultural structure namely tribalism, religious and patriarchal issues integrated in a complex scheme and paralleled with long centralized mindset, has weakened the process of women’s participation in the decision-making process. Also, limit capacity of civil society, lack internal democracy of political parties, and decentralized power absorbed by the regional government have created power centres instead of power trickling down to the local level. It again came to light that decentralisation as a strategy changes structures and power relations among levels of government and key stakeholders and that negative aspects of traditional culture and the tenets of democracy do not jointly work together. In reality, it is difficult to bring them together to ensure harmony. These findings reconfirm Bernard Lewis’s assertion that, implementing democracy within strong negative aspects of a traditional cultural system is like attempting to sow the seeds of 21st century political institutions in the soil of 15th century political culture. Based on these findings, two sets of recommendations are offered. As a key recommendation, there is the need to formulate a comprehensive development and gender-aware policy and as well as restricting and reorganizing the functions of regional, provincial, district, and sub-district level institutions. Finally, there is also the need to graft democratic decentralisation tenets on the best aspects of traditional cultural practices at the local level, creating and implementing quota strategies, building the capacity of staff of civil society organisations and government at different levels and democratizing the practices of multi-party coalition government to improve the participation of women in the decision-making process.
Subject Headings: decentralization and participation
Subject Headings (RSWK): Barzan <Irak>
Issue Date: 2012-05-31
Appears in Collections:Geographische Grundlagen und Raumplanung in Entwicklungsländern

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