There is a lot of history to overcome...but it will happen.
Gruizenga, who earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan University in December 2002, has worked closely with three of the women in the new government: Pascale Warda, minister of immigration and refugees; Nesreen Berwari, minister of municipalities; and Mishkat el-Moumin, minister of the environment.
"We help (Iraqi women) write grants, facilitate training programs for political party development, and train them to be good political candidates," she said. "We give general instructions on how to work with the media, how to promote themselves in the political environment."
Gruizenga emphasized she was speaking for herself and not for the State Department. But she said she, her colleagues and the Iraqis they are helping are frustrated by "the fear of the Iraqi people to rise up against a handful of insurgents" and by the news media's focus on the violent opposition to the U.S.-led occupation.
"Ninety-nine percent of Iraqis love us and want democracy to work," she said. "One percent are causing all the trouble.