FROM THE CENTRAL REPORT OF THE NINTH REGIONAL CONGRESS
Woman’s full emancipation from all inherited shackles is one basic aim sought by the Revolution. It is a natural human right as well as a requisite condition for making economic and social development and bold steps along the road to civilization. A society, half of whose members are backward, unemployed and humiliated must be a backward one.
Woman’s emancipation is a basic condition for building up a socialist and democratic Arab society. It releases the energies of half the population, thus involving them in the process of democracy, development and national (Arab) struggle and preparing them for playing their role in bringing up the new generation.
Like her sisters in other Arab countries, Iraqi woman has long suffered from the shackles of backwardness, humiliation and lack of contribution to the society’s life.
Leading the State and building up a revolutionary society and a liberated base in the Arab Homeland, the Ba’ath Party has to pay great attention to this point. Indeed, it has to emancipate Iraqi woman thoroughly so as to achieve equality with man in terms of human values, to reach a social balance with him in tasks of social rights and to play her positive role in the process of construction, democracy and revolutionary struggle.
Here the Party was faced with a complicated reality and certain conservative social conditions. It had to weigh any opportunity for woman’s emancipation against the degree of maturity achieved by society. In so doing, the Party was not prompted by a sense of apprehension and conservatism. Rather, it was eager to lead society in a revolutionary, national and balanced manner as is the case with other fields. A rash attitude in such a sensitive issue as woman’s emancipation and ignoring the reality of certain obstacles would certainly yield bad and adverse results.
The Eighth Congress has warned against taking rash measures in the respect because they would give pretexts to local and Arab forces of reaction for moving against the Revolution. At the same time, it has warned against making the hostile reactionary mentality a pretext for failing to follow a phased plan embodying woman’s emancipation.
According to the Party, woman’s emancipation can not be achieved by issuing legislation or establishing a feminine organization. Rather, it is a process basically linked to the structure of the political system, its social philosophy and its degree of progress along the road of civilization. The objective possibilities for woman’s emancipation depend on the degree of general freedom and progress achieved in society. Therefore, woman’s emancipation and equality with man in terms of human rights run parallel to the real steps made by society along the road of replacing exploiting and backward relations with socialist and developed relations.
In the light of this vision, woman has been given equal opportunities in employment, education, legislation, political and union activities. Indeed, she has entered factories, occupied various posts, joined military and security institutions and effectively taken part in political struggle and elections. In education, the rate of women grew rapidly to 46 per cent at primary stage and 37.2 per cent at university stage in 1980-1981. The women’s share in the power force grew to a rate of 18 per cent —which is a high rate in a developing country.
The General Federation of Iraqi Women has played a great part in developing this movement in Iraq and enabling woman to take part actively in the society’s life and activities. It is no longer a specialized feminine organization, but rather a key national one. Through direct support from the Leadership and Comrade Saddam Hussein in the forefront, this union has spread its activity in recent years to every part of the country, thus creatively contributing to all national activities and to the process of social evolution and new construction as a whole. Through her union, Iraqi woman has taken a good role in Arab and international conferences.
Moreover, the Iraqi woman has taken an active part in the national battle against Khomeini’s aggression against Iraq through visits to fighters on the front lines by the Federation’s members which helped enhance fighters’ morale. The Federation has also worked on promoting woman’s awareness. It encouraged its members to visit the families of martyrs and fighters and attend to their needs. Under the Party’s leadership of society, women’s emancipation has made satisfactory steps forward in line with the Eighth Regional Congress recommendations. We have to pursue and develop the same line. All problems facing this course should be solved in an objective manner and a revolutionary and courageous spirit. In so doing, we shall ensure further steps along the road of utmost use of Iraqi woman’s potentiality in the process of national construction. We shall also pave the way for greater free and creative participation by Iraqi woman in the country’s new life.