No Women, No Legitimacy

The SWPM holds its third Annual General Conference in June 2021 under the slogan “No Women, No Legitimacy”. The slogan is a stark message which is meant to raise alarm bells to all Syrian organizations throughout the Syrian landscape.

There is a clear and unmitigated neglect by all organizations towards women’s vital roles and their important presence in all decision-making circles. The SWPM believes that the Syrian regime’s attempt at holding a presidential election to renew the reign of Bashar al-Assad is nothing but a farce, simply because it does not conform to the provisions of UNSC Resolution 2254 which sets out the acceptable steps for a political solution in accordance with the outcomes of Geneva I conference. Yet, even in planning out this travesty, the regime did not bother to pretend to improve its image. The applications of the three female candidates were not ratified and no explanations were provided. The question remains whether their applications were rejected because they could not secure the necessary number of MP signatures or because the 2012 Constitution did not mention clearly that women are allowed to run for the presidency?

By the same token, the SWPM sees that the Syrian Interim Government is restructuring its institutions, with the aim of creating a more institutionalized form of government. However, we cannot see sufficient numbers of women. On the contrary, what we observe is continual attempts to marginalize the roles of women who are already in prominent positions in the Interim Government. The Minister of Education and Higher Education in the Interim Government, Huda Al-Absi, announced her resignation in a statement she issued on 15 April 2021. In her statement, Ms Al-Absi said that she was resigning at the end of months of disagreements and accusations inside the Government, and that she was subjected to harsh insults and several disappointments.

We at the SWPM reiterate that no legitimate government institutions can be built without women. Women form half of society, and bear equal amounts of responsibility to men during the transitional period and all subsequent periods. Women have suffered greatly during the past years and had to endure unimaginable duress. It is high time that women helped establish their future country. The first step could be to practise pressure on the Constitutional Committee to include an article specifying a female quota of 30%, going up to 50% in the next constitution. This is the foundation that would guarantee the presence of women in all decision-making circles, and all elected bodies starting from the lowest rung of villages, municipalities and governorates, up to the national assembly, including all bodies in between like unions, parties, organizations and civil movements.

The Political Committee in the Syrian Women’s Political Movement