women: Kurdish women in Syria have a hard fight

Kurdish women, who are oppressed inside their community in Syria, are facing two kinds of oppression.

The first one is their political suffering, together with men, from the authorities just for being Kurdish. Neither of them are considered to be Syrian citizens in the constitution but are considered to be part of a second-class nation in the country. They do not have the right to speak their mother language nor to work in public departments and institutions.

There are also many Kurdish people stripped of their civil rights and their Syrian nationality. For that reason they are not allowed to work especially in teaching positions or to travel out of the country.

The second oppression for Kurdish women comes from the man himself. He uses his ‘eastern’ backward attitudes to control her economically and socially. In the past women used to work inside the house and in farming and in animal breeding. They themselves were regarded as machines for making babies without any acknowledgement of their sacrifices from the man. The man was in control of everything, owned all the money and he gave the orders about everything. Women never had the right to have their own personal property. Even socially, the community considered women as second class human beings. The man was always on top as he was seen as having all the competence.

Changes last century

Women in Syria saw and tolerated all these unfair things. They could not debate or renounce their obligations because they aspired to keep and save their family, namely the children. They were very afraid to get divorced because it is regarded as a matter of shame in her underdeveloped country. That was the situation until the middle of the last century. Women were under the shadow of the backward-thinking man.

As time went by, science and technique developed and political parties spread in the country; the situation started to get better. Little by little, men became more conscious and the way opened to the Kurdish women too, to rise up against their hard conditions and take their place in the community. They started getting education in schools and they started to become politically active in the Kurdish political parties. They became doctors, teachers, workers and started to have some kind of economic independence.

Kurdish women’s activity strengthened after the uprising in the 12th of March, 2004. In this demonstration they fought together, side by side with the men. They had the chance to chant slogans against the injustice and unfairness of the authoritarian system in which they are oppressed. Some of them became heroes and many times got imprisoned.

They faced beating and insults but all that did not break them down. Instead their morale rose and they got more motivation for fighting. From that point, women’s organisations and humanitarian associations got bigger and more active. These included the ‘Future Stream Committee in Syria, the Kurdish Women’s Association and the Kurdistan Women’s Union

Through these organisations, women participate in special campaigns to fight for their emancipation. They start to come to terms with their political, economic and social position and lift their scientific standards, taking their place among the women of the rest of the world.

Women are mothers, sisters, wives, daughters but also workers. They are a big proportion in the human community and they must achieve their rightful place in the world. We strive for Kurdish women, and all working and poor women of national minorities world-wide, to be fully self-confident in their abilities and to be more and more conscious of their own national and social rights inside and outside of the country.

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March 2007