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Saturday, January 06, 2007 

Syrian Women

Syrian women - leading the Arab world (from Restless in Dubai).

Syria's Vice President Najjah Al Attar is the first women in the Arab world to reach such a high position.

The head of the judicial system, the Republic's General Prosecutor is a woman.

In 1979, Syria had the first female minister in the whole region.

14% of the Syrian parliament are women - that's the highest in the region, other Arab states have an average of just 3.4%.

98% of girls pass the basic education and 51% of the university graduates are females - equal to the European average, and well above the international average.

Syria has 170 women judges, 250 female assistant judges.

Join the lively discussion on this issue ... click on 'comments'

On paper this does look fantastic, but I doubt she holds any real clout in the country. In the Middle East, men still hold all the real reins of political power and it would take some woman to be able to survive the snake-pit politics of the region.

This is a joke. Just having a woman in a position does not mean that women are equal in society or in politics. The real question is, would any of these women still be allowed in power if they disagreed with the accepted government policies? Would they?

No, this is false integration of women: they must be loyal to the ruling clan in order to have a position. This would be like instating a Syrian Kurd in a government post, only if he opposed giving the Kurds passports and equal rights before the law. If he was there, this would mean that Syrian Kurds are leading the Arab world, according to your logic?

No, this is the same unacceptable propaganda--do not be tricked by it--as people who believe that George W Bush and the Republicans really care for the welfare of American Blacks because Condileeza Rice and Colin Powell were black, and they were in high positions. Lies.

I disagree. You may not agree with the work they are doing, or whether they have any influence. But the important thing is to show men throughout society that there are no limits for women.

Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell had to become white before they were allowed into government. It is exactly like your example of the Kurds.

But the problem of women in Arab society is different to blacks in America or Kurds in the Arab world. Why? Because it is not an ethnic group which needs acceptance by the mainstream. It is a group which is already integrated, but repressed.

Even in the evil Saudi dictatorship, appointing a woman to a top position (which would never happen) would be a good thing. It would be much more difficult to say you can't drive, if a woman is the chief judge.

If taboos are broken in public, they are much easier to break in private too.

I'm shocked that so many people cannot accept this. The fact that Syria is willing to at least share some power with women is a step in the right direction. Let's get real...everyman thinks he is in control of his house...but in reality the woman's hand guide. 51% of graduates are women...that's amazing!

Yaman, I feel you have slightly missed the point. With regards to a woman going against "accepted government policies" I feel that even a man would have a problem doing so. Any government system or world view is based on the fact that political elites or agents accept the basic assumptions that form that system. The debate would then become on the means rather than the end itself. Having said that, I doubt the United States would be very democratic or lovey dovey if some Communist Party were to mysteriously begin wielding influence in their Congress. Undermining finance capitalism, the bedrock of the United States ideologically would be simply unacceptable. The same for democracy chanting teenage protestors in Iran who want the opportunity to be American, they are missing the point completely since they have the opportunity to be something different to the American system they so cherish. Going back to the main point, I feel my initial reaction was a bit premature and I shot from the hip. There may be some merit in breaking taboos such as this especially in public, but I fear we have much more to worry about and personally I've never felt that womens rights has been a particularly Syrian problem as Anon. points out. Our 'brothers' down under might want to take more heed though.

I hate to be blunt, Arab women are in control in the open or behind the seen in the bedroom .

Well, i have to admit that the statusof syrian women are in a relativly better condition than that in the rest of the Arab world.

concerning the appointment of Najah al-Attar and the syrian judge that headed the investigations on the assassination of Hariry, i think that was a very smart move from the syrian regime to invalidate the deliberate western propaganda campain which misleads the western massess by mixing up terrorism with pan arabism and Arabic culture.

I hate to be blunt as well.But whilst you say that Arab women are taking the lead in bed,you tend to forget that in so many cases it is actually quiet the opposite. In all cultures both men and women have their roles which tend tochange as time goes by. Except maybe in the unnatural saudi society

My point is that these numbers by themselves do not mean anything and that people should not feel proud of them to the point that they ignore the still disadvantaged status of women. Just because one woman was given the premiereship does not mean that women are equal in all aspects in Syrian society, either economically, politically, or socially. Simply putting women in government does not count as feminism, if the feminist movement is not independent to develop as it sees fit. Reza Shah, Ataturk, and Nasser also supported the inclusion of women in the political system, but only as a way to strengthen the political system, not to strengthen women. There is a crucial difference here in intention and in result.

As an American, I'm very glad to see positive public relations (if it is just that) like appointing a female vice president.
Many of we Americans are working as hard as we can to restrain our government from further violence, but we can only succeed if we can generate a climate of hope and trust, or at least a modicum of rationality and calm, by having information to contradict the stereotypes.

Generating a positive non-violent climate is a challenge because a few people want war, and they spread intensely fear- and hatred- producing distortions.I've been astounded at the misconceptions I've had to correct from some otherwise well-informed and educated people; I don't repeat them here, because they are too offensive. The negative images are accepted uncritically because they come on top of a very long-standing ignorance of Islamic cultures, and decades of images of Palestinians as inexplicably violent people. (I know its not inexplicable, I'm just telling you the mindset Americans were virtually trapped in before we had the internet to make both sides of the story accessible) I visited both the West Bank and Egypt as an exchange student, and it really was a valuable, although it wasn't obvious how much it had taught me until I saw how the others around me reacted to our present crisis without any first-hand experience.
Anyway, I'm very thankful for your beautiful first lady and gracious president!

Its funny, Iran also has excellent female higher education statistics, a former female vice-president, and an apparently unique success in population-growth reduction through pre-marital counselling. But we don't hear about that here.
Meanwhile, the US still has not had a female vice-president, and we don't have nearly the respect for and support of motherhood that Europeans have--no paid maternity leave from the government for examples, no statues of breastfeeding women in the parks.

Now if only Ms. Al Attar, or some other dialog-minded Syrians would post wikipedia articles with a pictures of accomplished and positive Syrians, or possibly edit the main Syria article to add links to articles about Syrian arts, architecture, charities, social movements, etc.

"In 1979, Syria had the first female minister in the whole region."

Not quiet correct, I am afraid, because Nezihe al Dileemy, an Iraqi women, is the first who took the position of a female minister in the history of the region. This was in the late 1950s early 1960s, after the fall of the monarch. More info here

men are just jealous of us all....thats all...
lol

just kidding!!!!
but we all should be proud that at least they are achieving their goals. thats what matter.

i noticed some of the comments on this page, let me be the first one to say that arrogant comments like, "woman will never be equal to men," and "these numbers dont mean anything" just shows how small a man's brain actually is. And no woman are not equal to men, they are greater.BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN IS A GREAT WOMAN. Just remember that.

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