Women's Leadership

Women MPs in the Iraqi Parliament

The Iraqi parliament offers a case study in the opportunities, successes, and failures of women in public life. The Iraqi constitution establishes a 25% quota for women in parliament. While less than women activists had campaigned for, it nevertheless marks a pioneering and important step in the participation of women in public life.

Enheduanna: Amplifying the Voices of Women in the Middle East

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Merissa Khurma, Project Manager of Middle East Special Initiatives, about the just-launched blog Enheduanna. The blog hopes to “inspire diverse women contributors from the Middle East to voice their thoughts and express their ideas about the state of women in their countries and their often ignored yet important work to advance women’s issues across the region.”



Policies and Strategies Driving Inclusion and Productivity

The rise of Diversity & Inclusion officers and departments within the public and private sector mirrors a commitment to not only gender equality but building a productive, engaged workforce. A critical piece is the policies and processes underlying this commitment.

Leaders, Pioneers, and Partners: Emirati Women Make Their Mark

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has transformed women empowerment by further advancing its social, legislative and professional environment that has enabled women to be an active partner in the community.

In some parts of the world, women’s empowerment is still a far-fetched idea; however, in the UAE this is a reality, where women are encouraged to actively participate in nation building and to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

Women Rising: Voices from the Middle East

In commemoration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Wilson Center’s Middle East Women’s Initiative invited a number of women leaders from the region to contribute to our newly established blog Enheduanna: Voices from the Middle East. We asked women leaders from the public, private and civil society sectors to share their views on the challenges facing women in their societies and the opportunities for sustainable progress in advancing women’s rights and achieving gender parity.

Back to the Future: Restoring Women in Leadership Roles

Women know a thing or two about facing challenges — and triumphing over them. That’s true in the Middle East, in the United States, and around the world. My political career began in one of those moments of triumph. I was first elected to the House of Representatives in the Year of the Woman, 1992, when we nearly doubled the number of women in Congress. In the Middle East — particularly Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Jordan — women have been elected to parliaments and appointed to cabinet positions since the 1960s.

Yemeni Women Are the Real Peacemakers

I have been working to support the peace process in Yemen since the war started. At the time, I was employed with Oxfam and I was based in Lebanon working to help Syrian refugees. Every Syrian refugee I met told me that when they left Syria they were planning to leave for a month or two until the crisis passes, however, the war still ravages to date. When the war escalated in my country, Yemen, I knew that it was going to be a long one. Working in the humanitarian field was not going to end the war faster. I then switched my focus on peacebuilding.

Towards More Women Leaders in Tunisia’s Public Sector

The emancipation of Tunisian women is one of the most remarkable democratic advances of independent Tunisia. This major achievement was made possible by a historic process peculiar to Tunisian women but also thanks to the courage of President Habib Bourguiba, who consolidated women’s rights and ensured young girls’ access to education. This achievement that made Tunisia an example in the Arab and Muslim world was consolidated further after the January 14th 2011 revolution.

Syrian Women Dream and Get Organized

Eight years have passed since the peaceful Syrian revolution started in March 2011, which quickly turned into armed conflict and civil war--and hence into a global geopolitical proxy conflict with various parties wanting a piece of the cake. I remember clearly the first calls for freedom in Damascus and how the nonviolent movement started; how women especially and the youth were then deeply involved from the revolution’s inception. Yet in times of armed conflict, the presence of women often ebbs and as the violence escalates, they become hardly visible.