Over the past years of Assad’s war against Syrian, to which ravaged the country’s population up to now, women’s participation and contribution to the Syrian society have been significantly improving and proving how women’s roles have been under- estimated and worked to obliterate women’s role over the past decades.
The Syrian uprising has shifted power dynamics of men’s domination over women, given Assad’s policy in Syria, to a rather significant development of their collaboration in education, health, media, aid assistance, local affairs… and so on. Women became capable of being the doctor near the front-line, the media reporter covering everything shoulder to shoulder with men.
Unlike how women’s role during Assad’s rule has been, used as a tool only used to reflect Damascus’s regime modernity and gender equality involving women in high-level role, rather superficial impact, and if there is some to be named, it is only perpetuating the Ba’athism ideology and Assad’s sectarian propaganda among Syrian female population.
On the contrast, women’s role since 2011, had dramatically shifted to take the community leadership role of social initiatives on all levels. Ahed 25-years-old, a social activist and founder of NGO displayed that “Women’s have been side-lined and excluded from the decision-making arenas where arrangement that affects their lives are made. This includes being in the change of high administrative role locally and even nationally in the Syrian-opposition bodies.
“women need to be enabled and qualified to take part in reconstructing the political and peaceful peace process of Syria to which women are, rather intentionally, being blocked off.”
Women have always taken meaningful impact across the world in drawing peace and prevailing justice in post-conflict societies to which, in Syria’s case unfortunately we still have a lot of barriers to cross over.
Whoever tries to neglect or excluded women from being in the heart of attempt to resolve the ongoing conflict socially, politically, their attempt will fall apart, because women are peacemaker, while men are war-makers.
“In conflict zones, civil society actors are pivotal to lead their country from the violence cycle and constant stress and advocate for political change, democracy and freedom principles which get side-lined by the war, hence our mission is to carry on with this path to uphold these principles in our societies”Huda Sarjawe, a lawyer and human and women rights activist
Huda Sarjawe, a lawyer and human and women rights activist explains that civil society has enabled women over the past years with a framework to improve and build their capacity and enabled them to be self-reliance aiming to make them in control of their life and make their own choices.
Huda is one of the society leaders in Marrat Al Noman where she leads the political, legal and administrative office in the local city council. Hud’s role reflects the kind of change women who take part in building peace, driving political change wrecking men’s domination and echoing women’s voice and their interest, where masculine inherited ideology still exists and pushes women back especially in the political sphere.
Resonating here female counterparts, Huda rely a significant course of responsibility upon civil society, “In conflict zones, civil society actors are pivotal to lead their country from the violence cycle and constant stress and advocate for political change, democracy and freedom principles which get side-lined by the war, hence our mission is to carry on with this path to uphold these principles in our societies.
Ranim Badenjke, a communication officer in the Syria Campaign, thinks that civil society has always been gender-biased in terms of their work, projecting and seeding the subordinate stereotypical notion of women in the Syrian society on men and her inability for leadership. “NGOs failed in their workshops and training programs to tackle this cliché have alternatively failed and been mostly focused to improve women’s capacity to become a professional sewing or a hairdresser, and poorly towards leadership. Having said that these pieces of training are led by men which unequally segregate men’s efficiency to undertake leading position and reduce women’s influence on the society.”
NGOs failed in their workshops and training programs to tackle this cliché have alternatively failed and been mostly focused to improve women’s capacity to be become a professional sewing or a hairdresserRanim Bandakji – Communication Officer – The Syria Campaign
However, the civil society is capable of leading the superior role to put women’s role on the right side, by empowering women’s voice and tackling the embed- ded typical ideas about women’s role only catering to men’s needs at home or being sewing labor or taking a hairdressing course.
“Women’s efficiency and impact on the society is beyond the masculine leadership and this needs to be addressed by women’s inclusion in leadership role of the NGOs and equate both gender duties and rights in the working place and amplifying women’s voice and representation of women in the international and local sphere representing Syria.” Badenjke said,
The Amnesty International UK launched a campaign last in March 2019 to support women role seeking and shaping the country’s future. The announcement of the campaign demonstrated that, in 2014, there was zero-women representation during peace negotiations in Geneva. “Syrian women need to have an equal number of seats at the negotiation table” Said Chiara Capraro, Amnesty International UK’s Women’s Human Rights Manager. The report, which interviews a number of Syrian women indicated that women have been constantly been left on the margins at the Syrian peace talks and in key political meetings.
Ranim noted that NGOs’ future projects ought to focus to produce more women to take part in political sphere to reflect women’s perspective and balance men’s majority. She finally addresses the fundamental need to address the vital notion of superiority and subordination, “The perception of women should be deemed as an equal element in changing the future of this country and be treated as an equal, shoulder to shoulder with men, not as subordinate one.; otherwise, I cannot foresee an progressive independent free Syria in the near future”