process, their role in rebuilding the Iraqi economy must be institutionalized through support for equal access to economic and financial resources.57
The issue of women in Iraq has been a focus of congressional interest in the past year. In May 2003, a bill “expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should provide assistance for women and women’s organizations in Iraq in order to strengthen and stabilize the emerging Iraqi democracy” was introduced as H.Con.Res. 196. In November 2003, a bill “commending Iraqi women for their participation in Iraqi government and civil society, encouraging the inclusion of Iraqi women in the political and economic life of Iraq, and advocating the protection of Iraqi women’s human rights in the Iraqi Constitution” was introduced as H.Con.Res. 342. Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on International Relations. In March 2004, two Members took the initiative to form the Iraqi Women’s Caucus, with the intension of improving Iraqi women’s lives and supporting women to gain access to educational and professional opportunities. In S. 2144, introduced in February 2004 as the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act FY2005, includes a section stating the “sense of Congress that the rights of women in Iraq, including their full participation in government and society, should be protected following the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004.”
57 “Building a New Iraq: Women’s Role in Reconstruction: Findings and Conclusions,” Women Waging Peace, November 19, 2003, [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/news/docs/ findings1103.doc].