Syrian Democratic Council Women’s Office holds dialogue session in Holeb for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

HOLEB, Syria — As part of a series of activities for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the Women’s Office in the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), Holeb (Aleppo) Branch, held a dialogue session entitled “Political Violence against Women: Struggle to End Violence and Occupation”.

Participants in the dialogue discussed the topic of political violence against women, pointing out that women are prevented from engaging in politics  because the idea of ​​women managing society raises fear among authoritarian regimes.

The session was held in the presence of representatives from regional political parties, the General Council of Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafieh neighborhoods, civil society organizations, the Yezidi House, and Kongreya Star. Independent feminist figures from the city of Holeb and women representing various tribes also participated in the dialogue session.

The first part of the session focused on the causes and forms of political violence that target women. Jihan Muhammad, a member of the SDC Women’s Bureau, began her speech by recalling the assassination of the Mirabal sisters on 25 November 1960 after they rebelled against the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, referring to them as a symbol for women around the world.

Muhammad also said that, “when we look at the women who were involved in the political process, the leadership of society, and the first industries, we see the decline of women’s governance with the emergence of the Sumerian civilization.”

She added that modern Syrian women have been killed, kidnapped, and tortured, and have also experienced the suffering of displacement, especially in areas occupied by the Turkish state.

The second part of the session, delivered by SDC Women’s Office administrator Najla Hamza, focused on ways to protect women from political violence. She stated that, “protection lies in uniting and unifying efforts in order to enhance women’s participation in politics and decision-making and to develop programs by women’s movements for community organizations, civil society and women’s institutions.”

This opened the door for dialogue to the women participating in the session, who pointed out, in turn, that political violence is violence against both men and women, often through state violence against men leading to men’s violence against women.