Inclusion of Syrian Women in peace efforts is essential for long-lasting peace

Date: Monday, June 3, 2019

Since the outbreak of the Syria conflict, Syrian women and women’s initiatives have focused on service delivery and conflict resolution through local ceasefires, mediation and negotiation in their communities across Syria, according to a recent UN Women report.

Their efforts have included leading and coordinating humanitarian and relief initiatives, running education systems, participating in local governance and finding new ways of providing for themselves and their families. Such contributions are especially significant considering the limitations placed on women’s public participation.

Despite the vital role that women play on the ground and the fact that they make up more than half the Syrian population, they remain grossly underrepresented in the peace process which seeks to bring an end to the conflict. During the fourth round of peace talks in Geneva, Syrian women made up only 15% of participants. No Syrian women have been present at the Astana Process. 

This is all the more unjust given that Syrian women have paid a disproportionate price for conflict. Like men, they have been subjected to many violations and abuses, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and violence. But the conflict has also exacerbated gender inequalities and gender-based violence against women and girls.

Data by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that women's participation in peace negotiations makes those negotiations 64% less likely to fail and 35% more likely to last.

Justice for Syria requires women’s engagement in peacemaking. Their absence makes just and lasting peace only more elusive. 

Syrian Women’s voices