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Rojava’s law not just for women but for democratic life

KOBANΠ– In the face of a patriarchal mindset that has marginalized women for years, the Women’s Law is showing the possibilities for equality between men and women in Rojava. Women’s rights activist Newroz Miştenûr spoke to JINHA’s Gulan Botan on the ways Women’s Law provides the underpinning for a democratic life in Rojava.
First with the liberation of Kobanî from ISIS, now in the reconstruction of the besieged canton, the women of Rojava have rapidly destroyed patriarchal assumptions about women. Women have fought for equality in another way by formulating the Women’s Law, which addresses topics from polygamy to inheritance, from women’s rights as witnesses to forced marriage of children.
“We put out the Women’s Law to create equality and democracy in society,” said Newroz Miştenûr, of the women’s organization Yekîtiya Star. “With these laws, we’re guaranteeing society’s life as well as women’s.”
Newroz explained that the women’s movement is attempting to build a new system by changing minds about male-female equality in Rojava. The goal of the Women’s Law and women’s organizing projects, she said, is for women to be able to freely make decisions about their own lives and about society.
“We started a publicity campaign based on these ideas,” said Newroz. “In every part of the city, and in the villages, we’re organizing seminars on this. Men, as well as women, are attending them.”
Newroz said one of the main topics discussed at the seminars on the Women’s Law has been polygamy, which many men see the right to practice. The seminars also deal with the practice of “bride exchange,” or the forced marriage of girls or women as an exchange between families; forced marriage of children; the practice of unequal inheritance divisions between women and men in families; and the legal practice of requiring two women witnesses’ testimony as equivalent to one man’s.
“Fundamentally, women were belittled and not believed in. The women’s law takes up this issue and focuses on it,” said Newroz. “Once the discriminatory approach [to women] is eliminated, only then will society have a sense of equality and democracy.”

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