Women’s House, one of the networks created to solve the problems faced by women, leads social change in the Qamishlo Canton of North and East Syria.
The networks created to solve the problems faced by women lead social change in North and East Syria. One of these networks is Women’s Houses (Kurdish: Mala Jin) aiming to solve women’s issues, particularly domestic problems such as violence, marriage and divorce, and oppressive behaviors in the household. In an interview with NuJINHA, Behiya Murad, manager of the Women’s House in the Qamishlo Canton, spoke about the aims and activities of the Women’s Houses.
Behiya Murad said that they started learning their history as Kurds after the Kurdish Freedom Movement emerged in the 1980s, when they had lost their roots. “After completing my education, I got married. All Kurdish musical and folk dance groups used to have their rehearsals at my house. People from all parts of Kurdistan used to come to our house. Talking to different people developed my personality. We held meetings secretly against the repressions of the Baathist regime. We were most impressed by the ideology and thoughts of the freedom movement and the determination of the revolutionaries.”
‘We solved the problems faced by women by forming a group of women’
Before the revolution in Rojava, women carried out their activities to solve social issues under the umbrella of committees called, “Reconciliation committees”. “As women, we are a part of society and responsible for solving social issues. At that time, we solved the problems faced by women by forming a group of women. We used to visit families every day. When the spark of the revolution was ignited in Rojava Kurdistan, we were also a part of it. During that time, I started working for the Women’s House and still work for it.”
‘Men also come to the Women’s House to find solutions for their problems’
When the Women’s House was opened in the canton, women were afraid of going there. “Because, our society thought it was a shame for women to come to the Women’s House. Then, this situation changed. Now, women come to the Women’s House and tell us what kinds of problems they face. Women come to the women’s house because they know the women’s house ensures justice based on gender equality. Now, men also come to the women’s house to find solutions for their problems. They know that our aim is to build a democratic society based on equality,” Behiya Murad told us.
Speaking about how they solve problems faced by women, she said, “We first listen to women and men to solve issues such as child marriage, inheritance and polygamy. The percent of child marriages has dropped after we held meetings and seminars to raise awareness on child marriage. However, some parents married off their daughters at the age of 14 so that they would not be kidnapped and sold by ISIS.”
‘Steps should be taken against online violence’
Last year, the Women House received more than 60 applications about online violence. “We have held meetings and seminars at schools and in neighborhoods to raise awareness about online violence. Media should take steps to tell how women can protect themselves from blackmail because the media has an important role in raising awareness about online violence.”
Underling that the Women’s House tries to solve all the problems in a social harmony, Behiya Murad said, “Our aim is to build a democratic society respecting the rights of women and children.”