The Independent Women’s Forum Hosts a Discussion with a Delegation of Iraqi Women on Women Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment

Tuesday June 20, 2006

(Washington, DC)  “The formation of the permanent national unity government in Iraq this year is a critical juncture in the creation of a stable democracy that can secure and safeguard Iraqi women’s rights,” said Michelle D. Bernard, president and CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). Today, IWF hosted a delegation of Iraqi women that included Dhuha Rouhi, president of Women Entrepreneurs Association and Jenan Mubarak, president of the Iraqi Center for Women Rehabilitation and Employment. Both are delegates to the U.S.-Arab Economic Forum.

“This event was unique in that it brought successful Iraqi and American entrepreneurs together to forge lasting networks that will enable them to have a continuing dialogue about the challenges Iraqi business women face women today and how American entrepreneurs can assist them in the future,” Bernard continued.

The discussion centered on issues facing women entrepreneurs in the business world and in politics both in the U.S. and Iraq. The discussion also focused on efforts to mobilize Iraqi women to ensure that women’s rights are upheld in light of Article 41 of the Iraqi Constitution which threatens to replace Iraq’s civil Personal Status Code with shari’a law. IWF president, Michelle D. Bernard led the discussion, which featured Kate Carr, president of Cardinal Bank, The Honorable Carol Crawford, former member of the International Trade Commission and Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice, and Barbara Harding, Esq., of Kirkland & Ellis.

“The economic empowerment of women in Iraq is essential to the nation-building process,” said Bernard. “It is critical that the U.S. continues to extend support through such coalition building and the exchange of ideas between Iraqi and American women business leaders,” said Bernard.