From where I stand: “Women should have a strong presence and participation in all activities in Syria”

Date: Sunday, May 27, 2018

Zozan Alloush, Syrian activist. Photo: UN Women/Diego De La Rosa

Born in the Kurdish city of Kobani in Syria, Zozan Alloush is a feminist activist who has worked and contributed to the establishment of numerous entities dedicated to gender equality and women's empowerment, such as the Syrian Women's Initiative and the Syrian Women Peacemakers. She has also worked as a broadcaster and presenter for Rohani TV and other media outlets. Currently, Ms. Alloush is the co-chair of the Development and Humanitarian Affairs Office of the Syrian Democratic Council, which operates in Deir Al-Zour, Al -Tabka, Al-Reka, and Manbeh.

“There are many obstacles affecting Syrian women because of the war. I could name many of them but I think one of the most important ones is the absence of decent work opportunities. Because of the conflict, women have had to become the breadwinners and resort to jobs that contradict our norms, especially after the dispersion of the family.

It is crucial that the current status of women in our society is upgraded. This is a vital part of the process to solve the crisis. Women should have a strong presence and participation in all political, economic, social and cultural activities in Syria. it’s also a necessity that women from all ethnic groups are included to ensure civil peace and national reconciliation.

Public opinion can contribute to enhancing the role of women by pressing all parties, including the UN Special envoy to Syria, to ensure that women are fairly represented in peace negotiations. It can also encourage donors to fund projects that contribute to the empowerment of women in all aspects.

In the peacebuilding phase, for example, if we convince women that peace is the only solution for Syria, we will, by extension, have an impact on her son, who carries arms. The issue is not that simple, but I’m always optimistic about the capacity of women to bring peace and speeding up the process of national reconciliation.”

Zozan Alloush was among the Syrian women who participated in a dialogue co-hosted by UN Women, bringing together Syrian women and international policy-makers on the sidelines of the Syria Conference held in Brussels, in April 2018. Her work relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also relates to SDG 8, which aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men; and to SDG 16 on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.