MUNICIPALITIES & ENVIRONMENT

THE MAIN The main objective of women’s work in our administration is the establishment of free, democratic, ecological municipalities that are based on women’s freedom. Women began to work in the municipalities to bring their unique perspective and aesthetics to municipal work. They managed to prove their broad abilities and importance through active participation in all aspects of the peoples’ municipalities.

Under the Ba’ath regime, women could only work in municipal government as secretaries or low-level employees. They had no special projects to specifically address the needs of women. The role of the municipalities themselves was limited to cleaning work and granting licenses for construction. After the Rojava Revolution, women began to work in the municipalities on simple projects, ensuring basic needs— such as electricity, water, bread, maintenance of sewage networks, restoration of roads, sanitation and cleanliness, and other public services neglected after the regime was pushed out of Rojava— could still be met.
They started to build municipalities in seven districts in Qamishli as a first step, and then opened municipalities in sixteen districts and areas of Jazira. Soon, the municipalities were expanded to include eighty six villages, and were able to deliver important services to all parts of society.These municipalities were the first institution in all of Rojava/ Northern Syria to implement the system of co- administration, despite the criticism from men who were not used to working with women as equals. Even the male co-presidents at first did not understand the idea that they could share their positions with women, instead viewing their female counterparts as deputies or assistants. Yet as women struggled and involved themselves in municipal work, this view changed. It was necessary to establish a special women’s office in all municipalities, which would address issues related to women, protect their rights and solve their problems, and work to enhance their social autonomy and intellectual development by launching relevant projects.
Yet as women struggled and involved themselves in municipal work, this view changed. It was necessary to establish a special women’s office in all municipalities, which would address issues related to women, protect their rights and solve their problems, and work to enhance their social autonomy and intellectual development by launching relevant projects. Women’s participation in municipal councils must be 50%— a figure significantly higher than that of many so-called ‘advanced’ countries, which may only have around 20% women – if even - in governments of important positions. This shows the extent to which women’s participation is integral to Northern Syrian institutions. An Academy for the Development of the Environment and Municipalities was opened for municipal members, in order to expand the professional capabilities of women workers and subject them to ideological and professional training. This allowed these women to take positive and effective steps within their cities to implement important projects and services.

" Women’s participation in municipal councils must be 50%— a figure significantly higher than that of many so-called ‘advanced’ countries, which may only have around 20% women – if even - in important positions of government. "

Women have participated in all sections of the municipal councils on equal footing with men. Women have been able to break all of the barriers that stood in front of them, playing key roles in the most important municipal departments: the technical section, service section, accounting section,supply section, municipal officer section, market security section, transport and communication section, and legal section. Recently, other sections have been added, relating to diplomacy, public media, and archives. Because women are known for their integrity and effective management of the economy, they were first assigned as administrators for special departments, notably the technical, accounting, and cleaning sections.

WOMEN’S LOCAL ADMINISTRATION AND MUNICIPALITIES CONFERENCE

After years of work to establish general laws governing all the municipalities in Rojava/Northern Syria, the first conference was held for local administrative bodies and municipalities on August 1st, 2017, under the slogan “Ecology and democracy is the spirit of women, and with the women’s beauty we build a homeland.” During the conference, the women who attended discussed projects that had been undertaken and accomplished by women in the three provinces, and the problems faced by women workers in these fields. The most important decision made by the conference was the allocation of 10% of the general budget of the municipal council to the women’s office. This decision gave the necessary financial autonomy to the women of Rojava/ Northern Syria to pursue projects.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PROJECTS OF THE WOMEN’S OFFICE IN THE MUNICIPALITIES

Women have been able to work in the municipal offices across Jazira Canton. We have cleaned and beautified the environment around us by paying attention to the cleanliness of the cities, and expanding green areas and gardens. We have also opened restaurants and bakeries, nurseries to enable working women to secure safe and reliable child care, family development centers that give lectures on the family and society, and fitness clubs so that working women we can maintain our physical health. A driving school has been opened in order to train women to operate large vehicles. Women have also opened sewing workshops and shops to sell and rent traditional Kurdish clothing, as well as a computer maintenance center. In Afrin and Kobani Cantons, the committee has taken steps in the fields of management and administration.

However, the administration has not yet implemented the decision to allocate 10% of the body’s budget for the women’s office, and so projects were carried out in the name of public municipalities. The committee has developed relationships with various countries and municipalities, including: French municipalities, Britain, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq), Lebanon, and Sweden, as well as other countries. We plan to establish parks and recreational forests to serve all members of society, to establish a women’s society and to build a library in the name of Martyr Sara, as well as other projects that serve us women and strengthen our social position.