Policy Paper – Syrian Women’s Vision towards Active Political Participation

The Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) would like to thank all those who contributed to accomplishing this publication, individuals and entities, namely the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and all SWPM members and staff who assisted with the national consultations.

This work would not have been possible without the Syrian women who participated in the consultations and who, despite the dire conditions, were committed to this work to ensure that the voices of Syrian women are heard.

This policy paper relied on analyzing the outcomes of 12 focus group discussions organized by members in SWPM’s National Consultation Team with women inside Syria. These sessions were held online in November and December 2023.

120 Syrian women participated in the focus group discussions. The participants varied in education, social status, age, and economic opportunity, in addition to coming from diverse religious, ethnic and sectarian backgrounds. Furthermore, some participants were either forcibly displaced or internally displaced and some have been displaced more than once. In addition, they varied in their practical experience as some of them had been engaged in public service in state entities, while others continue to have their jobs in regime-held areas. Some of them participated in the public movement at the early stages of the peaceful revolution, or in the current movement in some areas of Syria. Some of them were engaged in some political experiences such as working in local councils or as co-chairs in Autonomous Administration areas, while others were detained on account of their political activism.

The twelve sessions were held across Syrian territories in various areas of control in political and security terms. Five sessions were held in areas under the Syrian regime’s control (Tartous, Salamiya, Suweida, Dara’, Damascus), three were held in areas under the control of opposition factions (Idleb, Azaz and Afrin) and four sessions were held in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration (Aleppo, Raqqa, Qamishli and Deir Ez-Zor). The sessions tackled several topics: the ability of women to effect change, the impact of participation on the rights and lives of women, the obstacles that women face, the role of women in ending conflict and making peace, and finally women’s preferences of civil or political action. Recommendations were collected from all participants in order to promote their political participation under the current circumstances. The participants were further asked about their experiences in their local communities and the impact on their personal lives and their community.


SWPM National Consultations team members: Khozama Darwish, Rowaida Kanaan, Sabiha Khalil, Lina Wafai, Wejdan Nassif

Researcher: Amal Shaiah Istanbouli


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