Activists in Syria are challenging patriarchal norms, to ensure they have a place not just at the negotiating table, but in rebuilding the country after the war
In the early, heady days of the Syrian revolution, opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and advocates for human rights saw an opportunity. “Women were extremely active and present,” says writer and journalist Samar Yazbek. But as the war escalated, some of this hope was lost. “The war became extremely violent and women’s rights became a secondary issue. But despite the horrifying intensity of the war, there are still women activists working to create life and maintain a civil society, both within the heart of war and as refugees.”
These activists are fighting to ensure that women have a place not just at the negotiating table, but in post-war Syria. As the chaos of war causes major social upheaval, these women are pushing for girls and women to be empowered, and to have equal access to education and representation – in keeping with the UN’s sustainable development goal 5, which points out that such changes benefit humanity at large.
This is the chance the war gave us – to empower women. If we didn’t use it well, it would be another disaster of war