Baghdad, Iraq – Dr. Amira Al Baldawi, a founding member of the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), has proven to be one of the most popular trainers among AWLI’s membership.
Most recently, Al Baldawi joined a team of three trainers in Amman for a workshop focusing on gender electoral quotas and coalition building. Twenty AWLI members from 10 countries participated in the workshop. Dr. Amira, as she is affectionately referred to among the AWLI membership, discussed Iraq’s Constitution, passed in 2004, which states no less than one-quarter of National Assembly members must be women. While initially exceeded that mark, Al Baldawi expressed her concern that as each year has passed, the number of women in the assembly has dropped closer to that 25 percent mark. Al Baldawi affirmed that, “Women themselves need to change and gain the trust of men and women in the community so that the quota can be abolished and women will still have substantial representation.”
Al Baldawi brings a wealth of experience to the AWLI network. In 2005, she was elected to the Iraqi National Assembly and in 2006 to the Council of Representatives. Since then, she has devoted her career to building a strong civil society, championing many initiatives on empowering women socially, economically and politically. She also initiated a coalition in Baghdad named Coalition of the Baghdad Organizations which monitors the performance of the government and parliament. Civil society organizations in six additional governorates replicated this initiative with Al Baldawi’s leadership and now monitor the performance of local councils.
As Iraq’s winter governorate council elections draw nears, Al Baldawi is spending much of her time advocating on the election law. Through her organization, Um Aleyateem, she has hosted public forums and discussion groups on the proposed law and encouraged local organizations to become involved in observing the upcoming elections. She has also published an article for the Alrayy Al’Am news agency calling on female members of parliament to refrain from participating in any type of parliamentary meetings until they find a solution to the current political crisis with regards to the election law in Iraq.
AWLI recognizes Al Baldawi for her determined efforts to give a greater voice to women leaders in Iraq and throughout the Arab region and recognizes her as a strong role model for future generations of Arab women leaders.