Eight years into the Syrian crisis, Syrian civil society is still considered relatively nascent in comparison to civil society actors in neighbouring countries. Despite the fact that international agencies and donor governments have been repeatedly highlighting the importance of involving women in civil society organising, the voices of Syrian women in civil society and in the political arena are considered largely ‘absent’ (Suliman, 2018). However, the absence of such voices does not necessarily mean that Syrian women are not involved in civil society activism, or in political activism, or at the grassroots level. The importance of this research derives above all from the importance of including women’s voices in civil society, as with the absence of their voices, their needs, opinions and perspectives are side-lined as well. In addition to that, the importance of including women into civil society and the importance of a civil society that satisfies the needs of women are often forgotten in mainstream positivist research. Our research has revealed that this absence of women’s voices and experiences is due to a number of external and internal factors.
Between October 2018 and January 2019, IMPACT in collaboration with the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration (CTDC), have carried out an extensive literature review, social media analysis, and collected primary data, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, through focus groups (FGs), interviews, ethnography and a quantitative gender-sensitivity assessment tool (G-SAT), to identify factors that hinder women’s involvement in Syrian civil society (see Appendices I and II). In addition to that, the research has also aimed to understand the current status of Syrian women within civil society. This research aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the status of Syrian women within civil society, through identifying the main factors that hinder their involvement.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.