AMMAN — Nine years have passed since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011; a revolution that witnessed the participation of diverse sections of society. In particular, Syrian women played a crucial role in harnessing and organizing revolutionary energy and creativity throughout the uprisings.

Yet despite their importance, Syrian women continue to face “gender challenges, further complicated by questions of social class and political activity,” the Syrian activist, Marcelle Shehwaro told Syria Direct during an interview. Even during the early days of the revolution, “we had to stage two revolutions,” Bayan Rehan, an activist from Douma, told Syria Direct. “First and foremost, one against Bashar al-Assad, and another against society.”

This week, Syria Direct will be launching its new podcast, Thawriyya. Produced by Syria Direct and funded by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the podcast series follows the lives of five Syrian women activists. Coming from different religious, regional, and class backgrounds, they all participated in a shared revolution in the hopes of achieving social and political transformation in Syria. 

Each episode is dedicated to one activist, during which she recounts her experiences over the past nine years and narrates the most important stages of her life at different levels—from the personal to the political. The podcast also explores how and why each activist left Syria and the ensuing challenges presented by life in exile. 

While the prospects of returning to Syria may seem slim, each activist spoke about their hopes and aspirations for their homeland. Despite multiple, intersecting challenges, Syrian women will continue to play a decisive role in shaping the future of the country and the emerging diasporas. We hope that Thawriyya can help express such ideas and connect them with the stories shared by many Syrians living both in and outside of the country. 

This podcast is also part of a wider project to enhance the presence and visibility of Syrian women in the media as sources of information, framers of debates and issues, editors and writers. As such, Syria Direct has held training workshops for journalists with the aim of enhancing opportunities for Syrian women in the media and improving gender-sensitive reporting. 

The first two episodes will be released this Thursday, June 4, and new episodes will be released every Thursday thereafter. You can listen to the podcast teaser here. Note: this is an Arabic-language podcast.

Host: Alaa Nassar

Preparation and production: Ammar Hamou

Sound editing and production: Rohan Advani

Design: Andrew Brown

Music: Tarek Yamani (all music is the intellectual property of the artist)