Aid & Development

Workshop to improve the status of women in northern Syria


Sponsored by the Syrian Women's Council and UN Women, a workshop which seeks to set the priorities for women in Syria was recently held. The attendees stress the importance of re-establishing the high status of women in Syrian society post-ISIS.

Women from Deir ez-Zour and Raqqa have gathered at a workshop in northeastern Syria. The workshop, entitled the Worshop of Women’s Priorities, has been arranged by the Syrian Women’s Council with support from UN Women and is being held for those that previously suffered under the oppressive rule of ISIS.

“We need workshops to identify women’s priorities at this stage, especially after the end of ISIS’ violence,” said one of the female organisers of the workshop. “We need to study the real situations of women and monitor the most important issues experienced by women in order to solve these problems.”

Following the workshop, policy proposals fulfilling women’s needs will be made to relevant local authorities to be considered for future implementation. The hope is that such policies can improve the status of women and overcome a number of crises faced by Syrian women in the northeast.

During the almost four-year occupation of ISIS militants in the region, the freedom of women was severely curtailed, with their role in society being confined to child bearers who were acquiescent to their militant husbands. Failure to adhere to ISIS’ oppressive rule would lead to severe punishments by the Hisba, the religious police belonging to the militants.

However, following the elimination of militants in the region throughout 2016 and 2017, there have been a number of rehabilitation initiatives for women held in the northeast, which became the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (also known by its Kurdish name of Rojava) after the defeat of ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Initiatives in the region include a well-being and health centre for women who live in the countryside and a women-only village called Jinwarmeaning Land of the Women in Kurdish. The village has been set up as a sanctuary for those who have suffered severely during Syria’s seven year conflict and is mainly inhabited by Assyrians and Kurds.

The numerous women’s initiatives that have been established are a major step towards rehabilitating Syria’s northeast following the persecution and violence carried out by ISIS militants between 2014 and 2017. The initiatives re-establish the high status of women in society and ensures that their voices and needs are heard in the reconstruction phase in northeastern Syria.