Women in Syria

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Women in Syria
University student, Damascus, Syria.jpg
A female university student in Damascus, Syria in 2010
Gender Inequality Index[1]
Value 0.556 (2013)
Rank 125th out of 152
Maternal mortality (per 100,000) 70 (2010)
Women in parliament 12.0% (2013)
Females over 25 with secondary education 29.0% (2012)
Women in labour force 13.4% (2012)
Global Gender Gap Index[2]
Value 0.5661 (2013)
Rank 133rd out of 136

Women in Syria are women who live in or are from Syria. Syria Comment described that Syrian women have been able to acquire several rights that have not been granted to their counterparts in other Arab nations. Such rights include the custody of children aged 15 years old or younger; and the right to give their nationality to their offspring whose father is not a national of Syria.[3]


Between 2010 and 2015, the average life expectancy at birth for women in Syria is 77.7 years, compared with 74.5 years for men.[4]


In the 20th century a movement for women's rights developed in Syria, made up largely of upper-class, educated women.[5]

In 1928 Lebanese-Syrian feminist Nazira Zain al-Din, one of the first people to critically reinterpret the Koran from a feminist perspective, published a book condemning the practice of veiling or hijab, arguing that Islam requires women to be treated equally with men.[6]

In 1963 the Ba'th Party took power in Syria, and pledged full equality between women and men as well as full workforce participation for women.[7]

In 1967 Syrian women formed a quasi-governmental organization called the General Union of Syrian Women (GUSW), a coalition of women's welfare societies, educational associations, and voluntary councils intended to achieve equal opportunity for women in Syria.[7]

In 1989 the Syrian government passed a law requiring factories and public institutions to provide on-site childcare.[7]


In 1949, women in Syria were first allowed to vote and received universal suffrage in 1953.[8] In the 1950s, Thuraya Al-Hafez ran for Parliament, but was not elected. By 1971, women held four out of the 173 seats.[9]

In 2012 women held 12% of seats in the Syrian national parliament.[4]


In Syrian universities, women and men attend the same classes, but sit on different sides of the room.[10]

Role in Economy[edit]

In 2011 13.1% of Syrian women participated in the labour force, compared with 71.6% of Syrian men.[4]

Women in the military[edit]

Women are not conscripted in the military, but may serve voluntarily.

Legal rights[edit]


In 1919, Naziq al-Abid founded Noor al-Fayha (Light of Damascus), the city's first women's organization, alongside an affiliated publication of the same name.She was made an honorary general of the Syrian Army after fighting in the Battle of Maysaloun, and in 1922 she founded the Syrian Red Crescent.[11]


A common attire of women, particularly in the large cities, are Western clothing that includes long skirts, pants, jeans, high-heeled shoes, in addition to the sporting of the hijab and the monteau (a type of coat), sometimes accented by a “coordinating purse”.[3]


In 2010 0.7% of female Syrians were intentionally murdered, compared with 4.5% of male Syrians.[4]


Notable women[edit]



  1. ^ "Table 4: Gender Inequality Index". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Global Gender Gap Report 2013". World Economic Forum. pp. 12–13. 
  3. ^ a b The Status of Women in Syria – A debate, April 25, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d "Syrian Arab Republic". United Nations Statistics Division. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Smith, edited by Bonnie G. (2005). Women's history in global perspective. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780252029905. 
  6. ^ Keddie, Nikki R. (2007). Women in the Middle East: past and present. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780691128634. 
  7. ^ a b c Tohidi, ed. by Herbert L. Bodman, Nayereh (1998). Women in muslim societies: diversity within unity. Boulder (Colo.): L. Rienner. p. 103. ISBN 9781555875787. 
  8. ^ Pamela, Paxton (2007). Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press. pp. 48–49. 
  9. ^ Moubayed, Sami. "A History of Syrian Women". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ An Introduction to the Modern Middle East History, Religion, Political Economy, Politics (2nd ed. ed.). New York: Westview Press. 2013. ISBN 9780813349237. 
  11. ^ "Syrian Women Making Change". PBS. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 

External links[edit]