This research presents the points of view of 196 women from different areas in Syria about peace building initiatives and alter native forms of Syrian women’s political participation through an analytical feminist lens using qualitative research methods. The research methods included individual interviews and collective consultations, in the form of focus covered, and covered different Syrian areas including: Damascus (Jaramana, Douma, al-Hameh), Al-Suwayda, Al-Raqqa, Homs, Salamiyah, Idlib, Qamishli, Dayr al-Zour, and Aleppo (Afrin and Qabasin). The importance of this research derives above all from its presentation of the viewpoints, attitudes, and roles played by Syrian women from different in relation to the peace and security agenda and its application, alternative forms of political participation, and peacebuilding.
The research resulted in several conclusions, including but not limited to:
- Syrian women’s engagement in grassroots political activism through some organizations and groups is driven by their desire to lead radical change and challenge political structural oppression, which reinforces stereotypes about women’s roles. This participation and engagement is perceived as an alternative to counter the exclusion of women from political leadership and from engagement in public affairs more generally.
- To guarantee Syrian women’s active participation in politics, it is necessary to engage them democratically at all levels. The participation of Syrian women in political work and in decision-making positions is still impeded by the totalitarian regime, de facto authorities, and a traditional society that does not value engaging women in public affairs.
- Peace from Syrian women’s perspectives means positive and just peace, focusing not only on ending violence and conflict but also addressing all areas of private and public life.
- The understanding of Syrian women’s roles in peacebuilding cannot be limited to those women engaged in the political peace process or high-level negotiations; it must include all women regardless of their position in the public sphere.
- As Syrian women have been greatly affected by the conflict that followed the 2011 revolution, peace agreements that do not take their perspectives and visions into account will always fall short of achieving justice.
The analysis also resulted in many recommendations of relevance to advocacy, further action, and other dialogues between different contexts. Here we summarize some of them.
The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.