A woman at Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education has been appointed as the mayor of Baghdad, marking the first time a female has been given the top administrative post of an Iraqi city.
A spokesman for Iraq’s government announced on February 21 that Zekra Alwach, a civil engineer and director general of Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education, will begin work as the mayor of Baghdad on February 22.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi dismissed Baghdad’s previous acting mayor, Naeem Abaob al-Kaabi, on February 17 amid widespread corruption and rampant violence in the Iraqi capital.
As mayor, the most important administrative position in the capital, Alwach will deal directly with Abadi.
Her appointment comes amid sharp criticism from international rights groups about abuses of women’s rights in Iraq.
Baghdad also is plagued by car bombings and sectarian killings, and is threatened by Islamic State militants who have seized territory across northern and western Iraq.