Project profile — Gender and Social Protection in Iraq: Towards Women's Economic Empowerment


World Bank
2018-09-12 - 2022-06-30
Global Affairs Canada
EGM Europe, Arctic, Middle East and Magh

Country / region 

• Iraq (100.00%)


• Public sector policy and administrative management:
Public sector policy and administrative management (15110) (15.00%)
Women's rights organisations and movements, and government institutions (15170) (40.00%)
• Other Social Infrastructure And Services: Employment policy and administrative management (16020) (35.00%)
• Business And Other Services: Business support services and institutions (25010) (10.00%)

Policy marker 

• Gender equality (principal objective)
• Participatory development and good governance (significant objective)
• Trade development (not targeted)
• Biodiversity (not targeted)
• Climate change mitigation (not targeted)
• Climate Change Adaptation (not targeted)
• Urban issues (not targeted)
• Desertification (not targeted)
• Children's issues (not targeted)
• Youth Issues (significant objective)
• Indigenous Issues (not targeted)
• Disability (not targeted)
• ICT as a tool for development (not targeted)
• Environmental sustainability (cross-cutting) (not targeted)
• Nutrition (not targeted)
• Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) (not targeted)


The project aims to advance inclusive governance and women’s empowerment in Iraq by identifying legal barriers and constraints affecting women’s ability to work, and by supporting the drafting and effective implementation of legislation removing these legal barriers. The project works in partnership with the Secretariat General of the Council of Ministers, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It supports the delivery of the Government of Iraq’s programs focusing on the economic and political empowerment of women. Project activities include: (1) providing technical assistance to review legislation and draft recommendations; (2) training government staff to conduct gender sensitization and awareness; and (3) publishing manuals and guidelines for use in policy development and legislative drafting.

Expected results 

The expected outcomes for this project include: (1) reduced legal barriers to women’s economic and political empowerment; and (2) reduced social and psychological barriers to women’s empowerment, including those related to their capacities.

Results achieved 

Results achieved at the end of the project (June 2022) include: (1) developed and disseminated a comprehensive report on the laws and policies that impact women’s rights in Iraq, particularly their economic rights; (2) provided recommendations for legislative reform that the Kurdistan region of Iraq integrated into revisions of its labour law and are informing revisions to Iraq’s federal labour law; (3) developed and disseminated an assessment of the main challenges affecting the implementation of existing laws; (4) developed and disseminated a gender mainstreaming toolkit and strengthened the capacity of 16 staff members from the Women’s Empowerment Directorate to use the toolkit to mainstream gender equality consideration into Iraq’s policies and legislation; (5) developed and disseminated a comprehensive review of women’s business leadership and skills training programs in Iraq to improve training programs and ensure more effective monitoring and evaluation of their impacts; (6) strengthened the capacity of 10 individuals from the Directorate of Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations to improve the service delivery to support women’s empowerment, and strengthened their capacity to transfer this knowledge to their peers; such as training of trainers; (7) strengthened the capacity of 14 Director Generals and Directors of women’s empowerment sections in key Ministries and the Iraqi Council of Ministers Secretariat to effectively deliver programs on women’s business and leadership skills; (8) developed and disseminated a study on the barriers that prevent Iraqi women from joining the workforce; (9) conducted a household survey to better understand how social norms and cultural beliefs influence women’s ability or decisions to participate in the workforce; (10) provided recommendations for social behaviour change campaigns currently integrated into media campaigns implemented in federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; (11) conducted a peer-reviewed study of women’s self-employment in Iraq targeting the poorest and most vulnerable and identified priorities for engagement by government and non-government organizations in the future; and (12) designed an economic inclusion pilot study focused on improving women’s self-employment opportunities in rural Iraq, which is now being funded and implemented through another project. Iraq and the Kurdistan region of Iraq actively use many of the reports and studies produced under this project to inform ongoing legislation revisions. They are also helping to increase the effectiveness and integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment programming implemented through other initiatives, including the Canada-funded Mashreq Gender Facility project.

Budget and spending 

Original budget $0
Planned disbursement $0
Country percentages by sector
Type of finance Aid grant excluding debt reorganisation
Collaboration type Bilateral
Type of aid Contributions to specific-purpose programmes and funds managed by implementing partners
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