In order to assess the activity and work of women within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, during the two years of the Administration, our agency interviewed the Co-chair of the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria, Berivan Khaled, who in turn drew attention to the role of women within the administration and its development, and pointed to the difficulties they faced, stressing the importance of women’s imprint, influence and positive presence in the Autonomous Administration and decision-making center.
The text of the interview included:
How did women organize themselves within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, and how can you assess their status within two years of the administration’s life?
Women within the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria, as well as the Autonomous and Civil Administrations have taken their role in all fields, be it in the political, economic and military sphere, and took their leading role in the administrative field.
Women have organized themselves within the Autonomous Administration since the beginning of its announcement, starting with al-Jazira, Afrin and the Euphrates regions, then in the Civil Administrations in Tabqa, Raqqa, Manbij and Deir Ezzor, each region according to its liberation from ISIS terrorist abomination.
This organization was at the level of the co-presidency in all bodies, offices, and committees, and at the level of deputies under the name of the Women’s Coordination in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
What has women’s presence changed in the Autonomous Administration and what has it added to it?
Women have a clear imprint in the administration in general, and a positive and effective presence in all aspects, whether administrative or organizational, and there are obstacles, difficulties facing them during their participation in co-presidencies, the fact that women in our society suffer from the masculine mentality which does not accept their role at the level of co-presidency or lower house at the center of decision and responsibility.
Of course, women are part of society, represent the largest segment in it, have faced difficulties and challenges, and suffered greatly in 2020 just like society in general, but their suffering was more, and despite the difficulties, obstacles and criticisms, they had a prominent role and a clear imprint in all domains. Thanks to the directives, women’s adherence to their essence and the spirit of responsibility for protecting their gains and this project – as they are the first responsible for protecting this project and the gains of women within the Revolution of North and East Syria – women took a positive role in all areas of administration, whether it was military, administrative, political or social, and somewhat managed to overcome these difficulties with the spirit of free women.
How do women struggle against the male mentality through their presence in the Autonomous Administration? How do they play their role in correcting the misconceptions that the ruling regimes passed to our societies and confused power with administration?
The ruling regimes had a clear concept and orientation, which is the representation of man’s authority over women and society. Man is the one who supervises, manages and chairs, but the Autonomous Administration was able to overcome this mentality by applying the principle of co-presidency in all bodies, offices and in all councils, be it the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial Council, and women had a clear role in that.
It is no secret that there is suffering from the authoritarian mentality imposed by the ruling regimes, while women go beyond it in a spirit of responsibility, awareness, training and education, and by getting rid of this mentality and training men alongside them, yet we still suffer from this mentality because the ruling authorities have worked a lot to entrench these ideas in minds and deep in society, so it is difficult to get over them in just a few years, there is an ongoing struggle and an arduous road in front of us, and women in the Autonomous Administration and in all areas of the revolution in North and East Syria must work and intensify their efforts to get rid of this mentality.
How do women brake authoritarian conflicts, and seek not to transform the administration into power?
The directives continue through holding organizational meetings, training courses, dialogues, and awareness-raising sessions for women to get rid of the authoritarian conflicts imposed by the ruling regimes, and for women to take their role as administrative and not authoritarian, in contrast to what the ruling authorities are trying to consolidate in the minds of society.
Has women’s participation in the administration motivated women in other regions to demand their rights in the administration?
Women within the Autonomous Administration and its regions have a clear and tangible role in encouraging women in all cities and in the world at large to take their role in society, and take the Autonomous Administration’s model as a basic model for them in the administration in Syria in general and in north and east Syria in particular, and even at the level of the Middle East.
What support does the Autonomous Administration as a responsible party provide to women’s organizations in north and east Syria? Is there special support to reduce violence?
There are women’s bodies and committees in the Autonomous and Civil Administrations at the level of north and east Syria, and there are women’s organizations and civil society organizations in north and east Syria that have permanent coordination with these bodies and committees, in addition to joint awareness campaigns between the two parties, in addition to the support provided for all women’s organizations, be it moral, promotional, or financial.
What opinions do you monitor about the administration in general and the participation of women in it in particular, which diplomatic delegations that you always receive? During your interaction with them, how do you find the Autonomous Administration position to these delegations?
When any delegation from abroad comes to the Autonomous Administration regions, they are dazzled by the Autonomous Administration system, especially by the clear imprint of women within this administration with all its bodies, their effective participation in all aspects of the Autonomous Administration, and the Women’s Law which they admired.
These delegations have special opinions and perspectives on the role of women and their participation in the Autonomous Administration, and on the Autonomous Administration’s model in general, this model that stems from women’s leadership.
What are the most prominent achievements of women in 2020?
Over the years of the Autonomous Administration’s life, women have had gains and achievements in the regions of north and east Syria, starting with the Women’s Law, ratifying it and applying it in the regions of north and east Syria to protect their rights and duties, up to the co-chairmanship system, women taking their role in all fields, offices and bodies of the Autonomous Administration, and their leadership in the North and East Syria Revolution.
There are several gains and projects for women in north and east Syria, but at the level of 2020, there were several challenges facing women in particular, and the peoples of north and east Syria in general, including economic, political and social challenges, and among them health challenges that the whole world faced, such as the Corona virus which dominated the health system in the world, in addition to the most difficult challenge which is the Turkish state’s attacks on the regions of north and east Syria, which affected the work of the Autonomous Administration in general, and the work of women in particular.