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Badass Women Not Enough People Are Talking About: Women in Kurdistan

Kurdistan (The Kurdish Project) – Editor’s Note: The second installment in our series called Badass Women Not Enough People Are Talking About features the badass women of Kurdistan. In a region known for being oppressive to women, the Kurds are setting an example for women everywhere with their courage and mettle. Kurdish people caught in a battle for autonomy and self-governance, while also defending and reclaiming their territory from Daesh. The women soldiers of Kurdistan have been called a secret weapon against radical terrorism in the Middle East. The following is a report from our friends at the The Kurdish Project.

The story of Kurdish women is symbolic of the greater Kurdish struggle for independence and self-government. For decades, women in Kurdistan have been standing up against suppressive governments and patriarchal society. Only in recent years have Kurdish women been recognized for their bravery defending their homelands, and for their leadership in local government.

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Passionate Fighters on the Battlefield

In Syria, the women of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have been recognized for their all-female fighting force. This force, known as the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) have been heralded for their bravery on the battlefield. Al Jazeera reported that Kurdish soldiers from the YPJ had singlehandedly killed over 100 Islamic State fighters. In the defense of Kobani, it was reported that up to 40% of the resistance fighting force against ISIS was made up of Kurdish women.

Image Source: The Kurdish Project

Progressive Equality for Women in Kurdistan

Kurdish women are not only leading on the battlefield, but also in Kurdish government. After Syrian authorities pulled out of Rojava (The Syrian region of Kurdistan) in 2012, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PUK) released a decree setting up governing bodies that mandated the participation of Kurdish women in government. This progressive move by the Kurds is unique in a region where women have been suppressed for thousands of years.

Image Source: The Kurdish Project

This report was prepared by The Kurdish Project.

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