Aid & Development

Assyrian Women's Union holds second conference in Qamishli


Assyrian women hold a conference in Qamishli to discuss ways to empower women in the community in northern areas of Syria.

The Assyrian Women’s Union was established in July 2013 to bring women’s issues in northern Syria to the public sphere. The Union held its second conference in the north-eastern Syrian city of Qamishli under the slogan of “The Era of Women”.

Members of the Union gathered to discuss internal policies and strategies for the future. In addition, a new council and president will be elected as a result of proceedings.

“These events and conferences contribute to giving women an opportunity to express their opinions and claim their rights in an organized manner. These activities provide power that helps women and supports them to achieve their aspirations. We must remain side by side in all events, whether we are Syriacs, Arabs, or Kurds”, said Lena Barakat, a participants at the second conference in Qamishli.

Women have been at the centre of political and social developments in the northern areas of Syria termed the Democratic Union of Northern Syria, which is governed mainly by a coalition of Kurdish-majority political parties influenced by the ideology of democratic confederalism. The idea focuses attention on the role of women in instilling democratic values in society and helping to contribute to harmony among the various ethnic and religious groups.

“We believe that women and their activities are the basis of the revolution in northern Syria and are the basis of any democratic society”, remarked Nazira Courrier, a leading member of the Assyrian Women’s Union.

Women have indeed taken leadership roles across northern Syria due to the stipulation that the co-chairs of any public institution must consist of one man and one woman. Although pre-war Syria, by all accounts, conferred equal rights to men and women, traditional attitudes to gender roles were a fact of life in many sectors. Many of these norms have since been shattered. Today, Syrian women are becoming increasingly visible in not only the public sphere, but the political and military sphere as well.