Voting against one’s own interests may be an international phenomenon, according toHannah Allam of Knight Ridder Newspapers. Though women make up 55 percent of Iraq’s population and are guaranteed 25 percent of the seats in the national assembly (grossly disproportionate to their numbers, but still a move towards equality), they’re a divided voting block and so they lack political power. Secular female candidates warn that conservative leaders could roll back women’s rights if they succeed in their call for a new constitution based on Islamic law, yet a number of women support the cleric-led Shiite political factions that have tried to limit women’s rights by adding religious rules to Iraq’s progressive family laws, decreasing women’s legal inheritance, capping alimony, and making divorce more difficult to obtain. Though these measures were stopped after an American veto threat, many female Shiite candidates support a constitution based on Sharia law, and wear the hijab as a means of being taken seriously. Said one such female Shiite candidate: “‘Equality? We don’t believe in equality. We have more rights than men…It’s all in how you understand rights. If I believe my right is to wear this black robe and you ban it, then my right has been taken.’”