Douma, a city northeast of Damascus, Syria continues to be besieged by the Assad Regime and serves as one of the most strategically important cities of Eastern Ghouta. As such, it has witnessed intensive bombing and shelling by the Assad regime, posing unimaginable challenges not only to the daily life of society at large, but specifically to the women of Douma; the continuous shelling and besiegement over the past few years has made it impossible for schools to operate, has cut off the communication with Damascus, and has demolished the city’s infrastructure. Women’s participation in society has suffered greatly due to the effects of war and siege compounding the preexisting challenges from prevailing traditions and social customs. Women of Douma face a lack of employment opportunities and are deprived access to political participation, limiting their role to minor tasks in the field of education and health.
In order to respond to these challenges, the TDA Communicators in Douma launched a women’s empowerment campaign in coordination with the Douma local council and the Sham center to encourage women to continue to participate and maintain their role in society, emphasizing their civic duty to participate and the importance of their presence and leadership within civil society. The campaign aimed to mobilize women from all segments of society through a series of seminars, presentations, and workshops led by women. They focused around the obstacles faced by women in Eastern Ghouta under war and siege. 70 women participated in the series of seminars focusing on the risks and obstacles that stand in the way of working, and a path forward to overcome these obstacles. One session was specifically centered around team building and leadership aimed at empowering and mobilizing women to participate in society alongside men. The campaign closed with joint seminars between women and men to address the political situation and reality in Syria and thus the issues that are of most concern to the city of Douma and the significance of women’s’ active participation in society. All of the participants were presented certificates for their participation at the final workshop.