Courageous Warriors of Kurdistan- The Role of Women

Historically, women have belonged to a certain social class and it has only been just recently when women have been able to take part or have influence over society.  It all started out when Women of the Western world became able to participate in having influence over the structure of the society.  Oppression of women has been linked to power i.e. (men’s desire for power and control). Consequently, this drive for power has been the reason why throughout history, men have been able to conquer and suppress other groups. Not only have they been able to suppress other groups, but in fact, groups within their own society, especially women. It was not too long ago that women were property of men and were not considered ‘persons’. They were denied basic rights such as making their own decisions in most aspects of their lives such that they were not able to live the way they desired. Men have always tried to be superior to women. This being said, historically men have always tried to increase their significance in society verses their equals of the opposite sex.

Fast forward to today, women from the Western countries are able to live freely and are also able to take part in all levels and divisions of government as well as have significant influence on society. The image of Western women is empowering and their desire to be seen as equal to men is amazing. When compared to women of the Middle East, we often see the negative connotations being associated with women of the Middle East where women are perceived as always being under the oppression and suppression of their male counterparts.  However, this is not this not the case. Indeed there are women in that part of the world who have definitely been suppressed and their role in the political sphere is not influential.  As a Kurd, I can say that this is not the case for women in Kurdistan. The roles of women have always been extremely significant and still continue to change for the better. Historically, women from the West have held leadership roles within many areas such as politics, the military and cultural spheres as well as within the realms of religion, respectively.

As of the most recent years, Kurdish women have increasingly been engaging in the political and military sphere.  In the most recent war against ISIS, it has been evident that Kurdish women have fought along the sides of their male counterparts towards protecting Kurdistan and its people. In this fight,  Peshmerga  (Pêşmerge) women,  female fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), female fighters of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) guerrillas, have come together to fight for the same cause; a Free Kurdistan from the oppressors and Colonial host countries. This being said, there are also women commanders who fight along their male commander counterparts.  These female fighters have enrolled to fight and they have been treated equally as the male fighters. If I said ‘they are respected more by society’, I would otherwise, not be lying. Quite evidently, women are now admired for their strength and resistance. These female fighters usually join to become part of the Peshmerga YPG, YPJ and PKK fighters at a very young age, mostly during their teenage years.

In this article, my focus is not on what these female miss out on by joining these forces but how they contribute as a collective, towards the wider cause. Furthermore, the phenomenon of these armed Kurdish females has received world-wide media attention.  As a result of the ISIS attackers within the Rojava (Western), Kurdistan now falls under Syrian host countries. Not only are these women fighting ISIS in that region but also in Bashur (South), Kurdistan. As tensions rose within these regions, these females received attention from journalists and reporters worldwide.  These female fighters were present during the attacks made against the Yazidi Kurdish in the town of Shingal (Sinjar), and they participated in the liberation of Kobanê. Furthermore, these female fighters have and are extremely involved in the continuous war against ISIS and will not stop fighting them while simultaneously protecting the land and its people.

All in all, the women of war represent the ultimate strength of the population. They also represent unity as they have come together from all four parts of Kurdistan for the same cause and that is freedom as well as the liberation of Kurdistan regions from the terrorist groups. Essentially, they are giving up everything they have not only to protect us (Kurds) but the wider population and the world at large. If we do not try to control and minimize the size of this Islamic group, it might venture out, expand and try to contaminate and terrorize other individuals/homes.

Women of Kurdistan not only have vision but are indeed committed to following up with a course of action and management of the processes that are essential to the vision’s achievement. Kurdistan’s emancipated women will simply not be swept along by the pursuit of rampant ISIS terrorists that catches the wave at a critical time and flings forwards at headlong pace but these dedicated and well distinguished female Fighters are up in arms so as to eradicate past and post-colonial experience.

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