Non-territorial autonomy and gender equality: The case of the autonomous administration of north and east Syria - Rojava

  • Rosa Burç Faculty of Political Science and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence
Keywords: women, representation, plurinational democracy, non- territorial autonomy, Kurdish question, Syria, Rojava, PKK, minorities


The Kurdish-led autonomous entity called Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) – also known as Rojava – considers women’s liberation an imperative condition for shaping a democratic society. The practice of autonomy in NES shares strong resemblances with Non- Territorial Autonomy (NTA) models; however, it introduces a novelty in the role of women as active agents in building a plurinational democracy. This paper examines (1) the intellectual and political origins of the political role ascribed to women in autonomous administrations and (2) how the practice of autonomy in Rojava has advanced women’s rights by shedding light on both institutional implementation of women’s rights, as well as the creation of (non)-territorial spaces of women’s emancipation within the autonomous model. The argument made is that the conceptual framework of the Rojava model goes beyond the Kurdish question and can be considered an attempt to resolve a democratic deficit of liberal democratic nation-states through bringing together solutions that address the intertwined subordination of minorities and women.


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