The women's organisation Taa Marboota has organised sessions to spread awareness to women about how to counter extremist tendencies in Syrian society.
The women of Raqqa have been at the centre of rehabilitation efforts in the city. The city’s female population was subject to harsh restrictions during the period of ISIS rule that lasted for over 3 years between 2014-2017. Women are taking the initiative and are combating the extremist ideology and misogyny that once took over the city and were dormant within Syrian society.
The workshop organised by the women’s Taa Marboota organisation and Aso Network, a media outlet and civil society organisation, aimed to spread awareness about the vital role that women can play in tackling all forms of extremism, whether it be religious or political. The focus was placed largely on eradicating any elements of ISIS ideology that had remained in the city.
“The debate today dealt with the affiliation of women to extremist groups and the mechanism to limit this issue, in addition to activating the role of women in conflict resolution” said Mona Freij, a women’s activist who works with Taa Marboota.
There were indeed women who joined or were indirectly part of ISIS during the ascendance of the terrorist group. This workshop explored the reasons for women being part of extremists groups such as ISIS, who either force women to take part or present a false illusion of a utopia in which women have a vital role to play.
Lack of education was cited as a primary reason for women falling into the trap of extremism. This is in addition to the admission that women require economic independence to act for themselves.
“There is a belief that if women worked, became economically empowered, and had a certain level of awareness and education, they would be immune from joining these groups. Women will also contribute and be effective in the prevention of the dissemination of this ideology to future generations” noted Mona Freij.
The political revolution in parts of northern Syria has provided the space for female participation in politics. Several women have taken up public-facing leadership roles and are being educated about their inherent rights and potentials.