Historically, Iraqi women and girls have enjoyed relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East. The Iraqi Provisional Constitution (drafted in 1970) formally guaranteed equal rights to women, and other laws specifically ensured their right to vote, attend school, run for political office, and own property. However, since the Gulf War in 1991, the position of women within Iraqi society has deteriorated very quickly. Women and girls were disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the United Nations (UN) sanctions as well as Saddam Hussein's increase in power, and lacked access to food, health care, and education. These effects were compounded by changes in the law that restricted women's mobility and access to the formal sector in an effort to ensure ...

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