Feb 20, 2005, Eileen Padberg — Gulf Region Division
The Gulf Region Division (GRD) Water Sector Women’s Initiative hosted its quarterly Roundtable Discussion recently. Eighteen Iraqi women business owners participated in the four- hour discussion on contracting procedures. The Roundtable Discussion takes a small number of Iraqi women-owned businesses and walks through the contracting process for them. These workshops help the women business owners to understand better the process – from how to locate the contracts up for bid to how to respond to the debriefings.
Kathye Johnson, GRD Director of Reconstruction welcomed the women and told them that her office was interested and eager to help women business owners secure contracts.
“There are two elements to winning the peace in Iraq – one is security and the other is reconstruction and infrastructure. My whole Contracting team is anxious to make certain that women have equal opportunities in getting some of the many contracts that are available – we believe in your capabilities. We believe in you,” said Johnson.
Johnson introduced Sahar, a successful woman business owner who participated in the Women’s Initiatives training programs. Sahar expressed her appreciation for the training that she received that allowed her to win contracts.
James Addis, Joint Contracting Command-Iraq Contracting Officer taught the workshop wherein he explained the contract process and answered questions. In addition, representatives from both Fluor/AMEC and Washington International attended to meet the women and offer their help and guidance in the bidding process.
“Women are 62 percent of the population in Iraq and they need to be recognized for their contributions. No democracy can survive when women are denied a stake in the economy,” said Eileen Padberg, Program Manager, Communications and Public Awareness. “Many of the Iraqi women business owners lack confidence because they are not used to competing against men, but attending these training programs has given them confidence.”
There will be another Roundtable Discussion scheduled in January. In addition, a newsletter will be distributed to the women-owned businesses that are part of the database.
“We want to help as many women business owners as possible get contracts. Creating a comfortable and safe environment where the Iraqi women can ask questions is our goal, “said Joyce Downey, Manager, Women’s Initiatives.