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4.11.1. The situation of women in the Syrian society

Last update: February 2023

Before the 2011 uprising, Syrian women had a relatively long history of emancipation and a relatively advanced status with regard to the rights of women, compared to other countries in the region. The Syrian constitution provides for equality between men and women; however, a number of laws are discriminating women, such as criminal, family, religious, personal status, labour, nationality, inheritance, retirement, and social security laws. [Situation of women, 1.2.3, p. 31]

Moreover, the authoritarian political system and the prevailing patriarchal values in Syrian society relegated women to a secondary position in society, including in their families, with the notion that 'the most appropriate sphere for women' was the sphere of home and family. Kurdish women are considered to have often experienced more liberal cultural norms generally held by Kurdish communities and promoted by political parties, but their situation was reportedly largely dependent on family and individual beliefs and customs, and adherence to traditional social norms was more common in more heavily religious or traditional communities. [Targeting 2022, 13.1, p. 108; Situation of women, 1.2.2, pp. 31-32, 2.2, pp. 47-48]

During the conflict in Syria, the fundamental rights of Syrian women deteriorated severely in almost every aspect of their lives, including their security, as well as their social, economic and health-related situation. [Situation of women, 1.2.3. p. 32]

It should be noted that the different forms of violence against women in Syria are often significantly interlinked. Therefore, the following subsections should be read in conjunction.