The women's rights organisation, Taa Marbouta, held meetings in Raqqa to raise awareness of the roles women can take in the redevelopment and reconstruction in Syria while achieving emancipation and equality in the process.
Much of the world’s attention regarding northern Syria today is focused on the brewing conflict between Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). However, away from the headlines, civil society organisations are working to build the foundations of a post-ISIS Syria that does not repeat the patterns that allowed for the emergence of the militant group. In the town of Ain Issa in Raqqa, the Taa Marbouta organisation is working to ensure that women are able to build and control their own futures by raising awareness of the roles they can take in development.
To this end, Taa Marbouta holds workshops and activity sessions that focus on the developmental needs of a post-conflict society and how women can contribute in it while improving their own lot. Traditional social roles are discussed and dissected, understanding why and how they came to be and how they can be changed for the betterment of society and the achievement of equality. Also discussed are the challenges women face in the realm of employment, particularly traditionally-male-dominated fields such as engineering.
Inseparable from the topic of women’s rights in Raqqa is ISIS and the impact the group had during its rule of the province. Many women here have shared their experiences gained living under the group’s tyranny. Exchanges such as these usually lead to other discussions on women’s experiences in Syria in general. One recurring lesson is that in a country as diverse as Syria, the experiences of women here in Raqqa often don’t match the experiences of women living elsewhere.
This is not the first time Taa Marbouta has held workshops in Ain Issa or the wider province. The organisation has previously tackled issues such as harassment and extremism in the region in a bid to ensure the very ideology and thought process that gave rise to ISIS can be changed.