Women from all parts of North and East Syria held events to celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, despite economic hardship, military occupation, and instability. These events represent only a few of the hundreds of gatherings and commemorations that have occurred.
Kongra Star hosted a significant festival of art and cultural expression in the city of Qamishlo to Mark the occasion of International Women’s Day. Thousands of women participated in the event in traditional regional clothing. The event was intended to express solidarity with all women of the world.
Two conferences were held in Hasakah and in Darbasiya on violence against women. Presentations at the conferences focused on political violence against women, which prevents women from entering public life, participating in public affairs, and seeking political office. These events were hosted by the Women’s Councils of the two cities and were attended by officials of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) as well as advocates and intellectuals.
Syrian women make their own history, said Amina Omar, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council. Omar said that history was not fair to the struggle of Syrian women, starting with the Ottoman occupation and ending with the Ba’ath Party’s rule. She called on all women to join hands and write the history of women’s struggles, continuing through to today’s revolution in North and East Syria, which is on the vanguard of women’s liberation movement.
There was a commemoration of International Women’s Day in Jinwar, the all-women’s village built by and for women. The mother of Hevrin Khalaf, a Kurdish woman politician who was murdered by Turkish-backed militia members as part of the October 2019 Turkish military invasion into North and East Syria, was present at the event and shared a few words of resistance with the attendees. Khalaf has become a symbol of martyrdom for women in the region.
A festival in Ramelan took place in order to celebrate women and especially the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) of the Syrian Democratic Forces for International Women’s Day. Tribute was paid to the YPJ soldiers, and the soldiers participated in music and dance.
A conference was hosted by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria to commemorate International Women’s Day. A variety of views were aired on the current state of the women’s movement and what can be done to further empower women.
The AANES officially congratulated all women workers of the region, offering flowers to women to congratulate them for their efforts.