Cooperatives as a tool for women’s empowerment

“We are trying to bring [the cooperative system] to life in Rojava. In early history, women were responsible for economic issues before they lost control of them. But now we are trying to develop this cooperative system so that women can regain control over the economy. Our cooperatives in the Kongra Star are run by women. They started two years ago, first in the agricultural sector. There is also a textile workshop and a knitting shop. And women making dolmas. We also have a bakery run by women. Currently in the agricultural sector, about fourteen women work. In the textile workshop, seven to eight women.”

Yasmine, former academic, works with Saliha in the economic committee of the Kongra Star. She comes from Efrin and arrived recently, following the Turkish attack. There, she was already working with the women’s movement. “Before the revolution I was teaching at the university. Then I got involved in the economic field. I found [Kongra Star’s economical projects] very interesting, I decided to participate in them. This is different from what I have seen elsewhere, in Lebanon, Turkey and Syria. I had not seen a women’s organization developed to such an extent elsewhere.”

“Women working in cooperatives feel empowered,” says Saliha, “they see that they can do things, that they do things. Because they participate in the system and because they produce their own sources of income, they feel empowered.

The women who come to work in co-ops are those who believe in themselves. They want to do something in society. There are women who for one reason or another didn’t come to co-ops but they end up doing it because they need a job.”

Read the rest at Co-operative Economy in Rojava & Bakur


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