Event Title

The Evolution of Equality Among PKK Female Guerilla Fighters

Presenter Information

Meagan Muschara

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

History

Location

RM 215-218

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jeremy Murray

Start Date

5-27-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

5-27-2014 5:30 PM

Abstract

The PPK spearheaded a vast movement for equality among other Kurdish guerilla groups. Currently, the call for gender equality has grown increasingly more acceptable throughout the Kurdish community that women openly speak about gender egalitarianism. On March 20, 2014, at the celebration of International Women’s Day in Syria, Sharmiran Sham’un, the Christian deputy of Cizire Canton Foreign Office eloquently spoke to a massive crowd of people who were primarily women. Sham’un brilliantly pointed out that a nation is not truly free unless the residing women are equally free. She then states, “We must follow Kurdish women as a model, who have taken up arms to defend their gender rights, land and honour.” Through gender equality for women spawned from the PKK, Kurdish women were not considered equal to men upon the creation of the party. ON paper, man and women were not considered equal, but is the PPK actually gender neutral in practice? The motives for creating gender equality were not based on benevolence of fairness, but rather on a plethora of ulterior motives. That is to say egalitarianism evolved out political necessity as well as ethnic and cultural preservation. Thus, the PKK created gender reform that is lightly seasoned with traditional Kurdish values while still appearing to be primarily progressive. The women claim that there are a multitude of factors that called them to join the PKK as guerilla fighters in the mountains. Claims consist of the PPK offering women an outlet from the culturally restircing customs which treat the women as property, the abilty to continue education without gender discrimination, and the freedom to enjoy equal gender and social status within the party. However, the paper will attempt to challenge this ideal by shedding light on the restrictions placed within the PKK and to uncover what gender equality means within the PKK for female cadres and to what extent is equality truly practiced.

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May 27th, 1:00 PM May 27th, 5:30 PM

The Evolution of Equality Among PKK Female Guerilla Fighters

RM 215-218

The PPK spearheaded a vast movement for equality among other Kurdish guerilla groups. Currently, the call for gender equality has grown increasingly more acceptable throughout the Kurdish community that women openly speak about gender egalitarianism. On March 20, 2014, at the celebration of International Women’s Day in Syria, Sharmiran Sham’un, the Christian deputy of Cizire Canton Foreign Office eloquently spoke to a massive crowd of people who were primarily women. Sham’un brilliantly pointed out that a nation is not truly free unless the residing women are equally free. She then states, “We must follow Kurdish women as a model, who have taken up arms to defend their gender rights, land and honour.” Through gender equality for women spawned from the PKK, Kurdish women were not considered equal to men upon the creation of the party. ON paper, man and women were not considered equal, but is the PPK actually gender neutral in practice? The motives for creating gender equality were not based on benevolence of fairness, but rather on a plethora of ulterior motives. That is to say egalitarianism evolved out political necessity as well as ethnic and cultural preservation. Thus, the PKK created gender reform that is lightly seasoned with traditional Kurdish values while still appearing to be primarily progressive. The women claim that there are a multitude of factors that called them to join the PKK as guerilla fighters in the mountains. Claims consist of the PPK offering women an outlet from the culturally restircing customs which treat the women as property, the abilty to continue education without gender discrimination, and the freedom to enjoy equal gender and social status within the party. However, the paper will attempt to challenge this ideal by shedding light on the restrictions placed within the PKK and to uncover what gender equality means within the PKK for female cadres and to what extent is equality truly practiced.