Activists from within the besieged city of Zabadani launched the “I Am She” campaign. The campaign focuses on the role of women in Syrian society, and highlights freedom, justice, and active participation in society. A league of women from different communities, religions, and ethnicities have joined this campaign to shed light to how important it is for women to be a part of the political, economic, social, and cultural fabric of society.
The network’s abilities are hindered by the difficulty of movement, Alwan Adnan, the network director, told SyriaUntold. This is compounded by the difficult social conditions where the network operates. Negative perceptions of women persist in many of the dominant social and military groups in the area. Women who have been detained, for instance, are often ostracised as no longer “virtuous” by their social circles. Furthermore, some women are unable to work after they lose their husbands in battle due to society’s expectations of them. The network aims to shed awareness on the role of women in the family and how they’ve been affected by the war.
The “I am She” network was initiated by the Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria as Alwan told SyriaUntold. The most important work so far by the network has been the campaign to end the siege on Zabadani, where the women put forth a proposal for a long-term truce between the regime and opposition forces, which included an immediate ceasefire, the transfer the wounded out of the city, and to bring in food and medicine to the city. After the failure of official negotiations between the regime and the opposition forces, this initiative was welcomed by the international community in August 2015.
‘Sada Zabadaniyat’ is another of the network’s activities, started by the local women to talk about their daily lives in the city. ‘I Am She’ also publishes a monthly magazine called “Suwar” with content focusing on the reconstruction and civil society, education and health, and the development of rural women’s skills.
The network has also established post-trauma workshops for previously detained women who suffered from physical and psychological abuse as well as workshops on the integration of women in society. SyriaUntold was told that although the means vary from one region to another, ‘I Am She’ is working on activating the role of women all over the country, out of their belief in the women’s tremendous ability to shape positive changes in their communities.