Iraqi women are seeing their rights increasingly constrained by religious groups gaining increased power and the almost nonexistent security. Women wearing long skirts and Islamic headscarves are now being turned away from mosques and shrines because they are not wearing the abaya, a black head-to-toe cloak, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Restrictive dress codes are also being imposed on women at universities. New signs posted at the entrance of a university in Baghdad state that pants are prohibited and that women who wear scarves that leave part of the head uncovered are not "real" Muslims, the Monitor reports.
The BBC reports that one Iraqi United Nations staff member received a handwritten note at home saying that she would be killed unless she wore a veil covering her hair. UN officials have also reported pressure on schoolgirls in some areas of Iraq to veil. "It's an issue of people's rights - it's an issue not only of women's rights, but human rights - and people have a right to choose whether or not they wear the veil, what religion they practice, how they practice that religion," UN Children's Fund spokesman Geoffrey Keele told the BBC.
The lack of security in Iraq has also led to rumors of increased rapes and abductions of girls. Some families are so concerned for their daughters that they are refusing to let them leave the house. The number of girls attending school has decreased since the US occupation of Iraq, according to the Village Voice. Women in Iraq are not able to drive or walk the streets at night freely as they could before the invasion, according to the BBC.
In an effort to ensure women's rights in Iraq, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have called upon the Bush administration to include women in leadership roles in the reconstruction of Iraq and to ensure that women are full participants in the new Iraqi government. L. Paul Bremer, the US civilian administrator in Iraq, has said that the 25-30 member political council of Iraqis he is appointing next month will include women, according to the Monitor.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .