When anti-government demonstrations in Syria began in 2011, Syrian women took part in protests standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Syrian men. Since then, women have been involved in all aspects of the conflict and Syrian society in general: from fighting, peacebuilding and political negotiations to culture, economics and education.
Six years into the war, it has become clear that women have an essential role to play in finding a solution to the conflict and building the country’s future. Today, the issues women face cannot be separated from the major issues facing Syria and the manner in which it moves forward.
But the toll of war has been devastating, even more acutely so on women. The issues they face have become increasingly complex in light of years of fighting and the widespread humanitarian crisis. As with so many other elements of Syrian society, complex problems and a lack of nuanced understanding have led to stereotypes and generalizations about Syrian women. And as a result women in Syria have largely been understood only in the context of the barriers they face or the violations carried out against them.
In reality, they are far more resilient and capable.
“To be a woman in Syria today, means to be a woman of steel,” female Syrian Civil Defense volunteer Manal Abazied wrote. “A Syrian woman doesn’t break no matter the circumstances.”
Syria Deeply and The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) explore the issues facing Syrian women, such as access to education, women’s role in the economy, peacebuilding efforts, violence against women, health, arts and culture. Through in-depth, multimedia reports and policy briefs we aim to provide a platform for new and diverse perspectives of Syrian women to foster a deeper understanding of their essential role to policymakers and the public.