ERBIL, Iraq, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Female lawmakers in the Kurdish government of Iraq describe improving conditions for women, saying they are on equal terms with their male counterparts.
At 27, Befrin Hussein Khalifa is the youngest woman to serve in the Kurdish Parliament. In an interview with London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, she describes a vibrant political situation for women.
She said cooperative efforts between members of Parliament and the regional government in Erbil would open the doors to a competitive democracy.
The incumbent parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were accused of monopolizing the power structure in the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Opposition parties, though slow to develop, are emerging in the wake of 2009 elections.
Khalifa praised the growth of the opposition, saying it would "ensure the presence of genuine competition between parliamentary blocs to do their best to serve Kurdish society."
She said that there was a "wide representation" of women in the Kurdish government, describing it as both as a testament to their tenacity and the willingness of the KRG to embrace reforms.
"We deal with our male parliamentary colleagues as equals, and we do not feel anything separates us from them," she said.