From the International Herald Tribune:
"Of the estimated 14,400 candidates, close to 4,000 are women. Some female candidates have had their posters splattered with mud, defaced with beards or torn up, but most have been spared the violence that has claimed the lives of two male candidates and a coalition leader since the start of the year.
For many of these women, the elections offer a chance to inject some much-needed fresh air into councils that are currently plagued by deep corruption and dominated by men and big political parties that are often ultraconservative.
But even if they win, they face numerous hurdles, particularly the entrenched attitudes of most Iraqi men, who view women as either sex objects or child bearers who have no place in the rough-and-tumble world of politics.
Despite the recent gains in security, some women continue to face threats, while others say the whole thing is a charade and not worth the effort."