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ALM Feature

A decade into Kurdish autonomous rule, what changed for northeast Syria's women?

Since 2013, the province of Hasakah in northeastern Syria has been ruled by an autonomous administration guided by overtly feminist principles. Ten years later, what has changed for rural women? What challenges remain?
A woman dressed in traditional clothing poses for a picture while standing on a rock in the Mazqaft water reservoir in the countryside of the town of Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province close to the border with Turkey, during Syrian Kurdish celebrations on the second day of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 21, 2021. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

QAMISHLI, Syria — Um Jamil describes herself as a fighter — not one that carries a weapon, but a determined spirit who struggled for the past 10 years to achieve her independence.

Raised in the countryside of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, Um Jamil spent most of her life “living simply, like any woman in the countryside.” She married a worker living in the city of Qamishli, and for many years they both struggled to raise their six children on his meager wages. “There wasn’t a single Syrian pound to spare, and I had to ask my husband for money every time I needed something,” she told Al-Monitor.

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