Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

Women’s Rights under Attack in Iraq

by Isobel Coleman Tuesday, March 25, 2014
An Iraqi woman walks back home to Basara, Iraq, as fires rage in the distance, April 2003 (Courtesy Reuters/Yannis Behrakis). An Iraqi woman walks back home to Basara, Iraq, as fires rage in the distance, April 2003 (Courtesy Reuters/Yannis Behrakis).

As the grim headlines from Iraq attest, the sectarian tensions that threatened to rip the country apart in the darkest days of 2006-2007 were never resolved. In the lead-up to the country’s parliamentary election on April 30th, suicide attacks and car bombings are again on the rise. Now, a proposed law threatens to worsen sectarian strife, and also make life harder for Iraqi women. Read more »

International Women’s Day 2014: MENA Women

by Isobel Coleman Friday, March 7, 2014
Members of the Tunisian parliament celebrate after approving the country's new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia, January 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi). Members of the Tunisian parliament celebrate after approving the country's new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia, January 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi).

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center asked a diverse group of experts from business, politics, media, and civil society to contribute to its third annual report on women’s status in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The publication, “MENA Women: Opportunities and Obstacles in 2014,” includes entries from forty-three women across twenty countries in the region and beyond, offering a broad and timely set of perspectives on the future of women in the Arab world. Although there are several areas of deep concern for women – particularly in Iraq and Syria – the views are generally cautiously optimistic and point to a positive trend line across the region. Read more »