News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
A new article from ANF highlights the gains women have made since the revolution in Rojava began 15 months ago, and the role women have taken in carrying the revolution forward. Women have taken on important leadership positions in political, social and military areas. Many women who only worked at home before the revolution are now working in self-defense/security units defending their towns and villages, while also taking on the responsibility of confronting problems in their communities. In Arfin, for example, a woman and a man are jointly in charge of the local security forces, while in the whole or Rojava more than half of the fighters attached to the YPG are in fact women, who serve in both mixed units and the all female YPJ.
Among other new institutions founded and run by women – and dedicated to the advancement of women in society – are women’s centers, women’s academies, women’s parliaments, and women’s workshops. Women have played a major role in the new educational centers that have sprung up around Rojava, and participate as both teachers and students. Currently everyone from the age of 7 to 70 has been enrolled in courses that enable them to read Kurdish in the Latin alphabet.
Women’s academies have also been opened in order to encourage the participation of women in revolutionary activities and to encourage women to reconsider traditional gender roles. Education lasts for 15 days and takes as its principal goal the self-empowerment of women. The first six days cover women’s history and social gender roles. The remaining days are devoted to an explanation of the system the revolution is working to create. Among other literature read at the academy is ‘Free and Equal Life` by Abdullah Öcalan.
Women’s Parliaments have been founded alongside every People’s Parliament in Rojava in order to ensure that women are more actively involved and that their perspectives are taken into consideration in all decision making. Women have also been involved in new workshops that attempt to teach women new trades and involve them in the production process.
Finally Women’s Center have been set up to solve social problems, and in particular to remind people of the importance of women’s rights. Among other problems faced by local women are early marriages and honor killings. TEV-DEM has prohibited marriage by anyone younger than 18, and women who are experiencing problems in their marriage can come and seek help at women’s centers. The right of divorce is guaranteed and divorces have increased since the beginning of the revolution. Only three honor killings have taken place over the past 7 months and those responsible are forced to flee Rojava or face prison.