For International Women’s Day, we put the spotlight on Syrian women surviving the war.
Public Radio International (PRI), a radio organisation with locations all over the globe, set up a Facebook discussion group on January where everyone can join and ask questions about what life is like for women in Syria.
A group of females in their 20s based in Eastern Ghouta answered questions ranging from simple, day-to-day matters to profound, comprehensive ones that were translated by PRI’s reporter. The answers were then forwarded to those who joined the group.
All the way from Cardiff, we sent in a few queries to the Facebook thread and had heard from PRI’s reporter after several weeks of anticipation.
Here are answers from two Syrian women: Ayta, a 24-yr. old who works at a women’s centre in Ghouta, and Laila, a 24-yr. old Agriculture Engineering student in Damascus University whose education was halted because of the siege.
Q: Most of you are in your 20s, what do you think is the difference of your life there from the life of women who are older? Are you more hopeful?
Laila: We, younger women, are more hopeful and optimistic that we will live a better life than the one we are living now, and that we will rebuild our country to be even more beautiful than it was before.
Q: Do you feel like as a woman is more difficult there than it is for men? Why or why not?
Ayat: Yes, it is more difficult for a woman because in the absence of the breadwinner, whether due to his death or imprisonment or injury or unemployment, she has had to take on the role of the man as well. This has meant that the woman has to fulfill almost all of the man’s duties, and this results in huge emotional and psychological burdens dumped on her. So, the women here are a force to be reckoned with in every sense.
Q: What kind of help do you guys direly need?
Ayat: Tranquility, safety, and stability.
Q: What do you fear the most?
Laila: My greatest fear is losing a loved one, and that is why I always hope and pray that I will die with those I love, so that I will never have to feel the excruciating pain of loss.
Q: What are your dreams for the women in Syria?
Laila: That they will reach a point where they are working in all professional, educational, and political fields, that they will stand out and excel and express their opinions without fear or hesitation, and that they will raise their children in the right way with sound principles and values.
Watch the video of how Syrian women feel about their own men leaving for Europe: