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Lecture on Syrian Women’s Role in Political Life and Decision-Making Held Marking International Women's Day

 Syrian women, in the past and present, have been considered as the symbol of the homeland and as an example to follow in commitment to principles and values”, Eng. Ghada Al-Assad, a social activist and a former member of the Lattakia Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party branch leadership, said in a statement to the Syriatimes e-newspaper on the sidelines of a lecture she recently delivered on “the Importance of Syrian Women’s Role in Political Life and Decision-Making".

Eng. al-Assad, who is also Head of the Technical Office of Water Resources Directorate in Lattakia, delivered the lecture at “The Syrian Rassemblement for Reform and Civil Society Participation” (Tasama) in Lattakia province marking International Women's Day.

The lecturer reviewed the Syrian woman's position in history including in the legends and tales as goddess of war, love and fertility and as a creative spirit over thousands of years. In a later era in history, Eng. al-Assad said, the Syrian woman occupied a glorious position by becoming a queen. For example, Zenobia, the queen of Syria's Palmyra, was example of an ambitious and very brave queen with a strong personality.  Old kingdoms in Syria were also named after some women such as Ebla, Mary, Ugharit and Apamea, and even in religion there was a woman besides every prophet, the lecturer said, pointing out that the Syrian women enjoyed such a significant and respectable status while women in the then Arab Gulf were infanticide.

 Struggle against colonialism

Highlighting the Syrian women’s extraordinary presence in the struggle against the French colonialism in Syria, Eng. Al-Assad named examples such as Nazek Al- Abed as the first Syrian woman to become an officer and fight against the French colonialism alongside the then Defense Minister Youseff Al-Azmeh.

"Women are half of the society and they bring up the other half": late Leader Hafez al-Assad

Moreover, in  social side, the lecturer affirmed, Syrian women has been the most important  component in society for their role in bringing up civilized and national generations who believe in Syrian original values and who are active in their societies, recalling in this regard great late President Hafez Al-Assad saying: "Women are half of the society and they bring up the other half".

Compared to some other societies where women are still subjected to stress, oppression, ill-treatment and are deprived of their simplest rights in the 20th century, Syrian women’s conditions witnessed remarkable development, as they became main partners at work and in political decision-making , eng. Al-Assad said, indicating in this connection that two Syrian women, Jihan Mouselli and Wedad Azhari, became parliament members in 1958.

She added the Syrian women got right of election in 1949 and the right of nomination in 1953, whereas not before 2018, women in Saudi Arabia got the right of election for municipalities.

The lecturer underlined that since March 8, 1963 Revolution for building and reforms and under the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party's rule, Syrian women have achieved great gains in almost all fields, hailing the Syrian constitution which guaranteed Syrian women’s rights and paved the way for her to effectively take part in the country's political, social, cultural and economic life.

Empowering Syrian women a priority of Syrian government policy

"In recent years, the Syrian government's policy has given top priority to the empowerment of women as equal partners to men” Eng, Al-Assad said, pointing out that Syrian women have occupied high ranking political positions including as, vice president, presidential advisor, parliament speaker, member of parliaments, ministers, Ba’ath Party senior officials, directors of people's organizations and heads of local councils”. She referred in this regard to Vice-President for Cultural Affairs Najah Al-Attar and the Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban.

Talking about the Syrian women’s role under the crisis in the country, Eng. Al-Assad said "the Syrian women have sacrificed a lot during the crisis with many of them losing their loved ones, including parents, husbands and children, yet they never stopped playing key role in defending the homeland and supporting the army in its battle against takfiri terrorism.

"Every Syrian mother of a martyr, a wounded soldier or an officer at the Syrian Arab Army has made a strong political decision by sending their loved ones to the battle to defend the homeland against takfiris and by keep strong and patient despite their losses," the lecturer said.

She pointed out that the crisis spawned new cases of violations against women in some Syrian areas that were held by terrorists, as terrorist groups tried to impose their dark mentality on the population, thereby women becoming victims of various forms of transgressions including physical and psychological violence.

In her lecture, Eng. Al-Assad highly valued the Syrian women’s  steadfastness and commitment to Syria’s unity and their decision to stay in the country and challenge the war circumstances. She asserted that every Syrian woman, who did her duty in all domains of work during the crisis was making an important decision and helping preserve the legitimacy of the state.

The Syrian women have proved during the crisis that each one of them has been the Khansaa of the century because of their steadfastness and their determination to raise a strong national generation." Eng Al-Assad concluded.

Interviewed by : Rawaa Ghanam