Do Iraq’s Women Miss Saddam?

For some, otolaryngologist it was an easier time.

Women could walk freely throughout the streets of the capital, more about wearing whatever they pleased. A high percentage of women had full-time jobs, women in government were given a year of maternity leave and public day care centers were set up. The country had one of the best education systems in the Arab world and women were well represented in most faculties.

While one would hardly go so far as to describe those times as ‘the good ole’ days’, for many women Iraq under Saddam Hussein had its perks.

Today the situation is quite different. While the fall of Saddam Hussein has led to many overall improvements in personal freedoms and civil rights, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent courtship of socially conservative Islamic political groups has created quite a different picture for women.

Women no longer have many of the civil rights they were afforded under Saddam Hussein’s regime. Sharia law has been written into Iraq’s constitution, women have been barred from certain aspects of public life in many parts of the country, women’s freedom of movement has been severely curtailed, sex trafficking, prostitution, abductions and assassinations of women have all risen and women in government no longer get a year of maternity leave – that has been cut to six months.

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