The status of women in Syria has undergone great change in the last century and particularly in the decade leading up to the Syrian Arab Spring. Despite this advancement, many women are still not permitted the freedom to convert their capabilities into chosen valued activities and achievements. This has resulted in a lack of agency to decide, act and bring change in Syria. Most women do not partake in political and public life and, due to the nature of the regime and the socio-cultural landscape, their freedom to make decisions affecting their status within the public and private sphere is restricted. Women have achieved the capability of being educated, yet many have not converted this into the functioning of employment. The conversion of a capability is restricted by the social conversion factors that a patriarchal society influences. However, there are many Syrian women whose freedoms are less restricted. It was found that social class and geographic location have a significant impact in women’s ability to achieve their capabilities and functionings. Women born into the middle and upper-classes in urban areas have far more opportunities than those born into lower class families and in rural areas. The Syrian Arab Spring has seen women using their agency and challenging traditional gendered roles within the society, though it remains to be seen what the future holds for women. Nonetheless, women are demanding a more equal society that is inclusive of all women’s freedoms.
Charles, Lorraine and Denman, Kate
“Every knot has someone to undo it.” Using the Capabilities Approach as a lens to view the status of women leading up to the Arab Spring in Syria.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 13(5), 195-210.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol13/iss5/17