Panel debate: “Kurdish Women on the Frontline”

Panel debate: “Kurdish Women on the Frontline”

Danish Kurdish online newspaper and academic organizations, NASIM and FOKUS-A present panel debate of Kurdish women’s fight for freedom with focus on women from The Women’s Protection Units (YJP) in Rojava in Northern Syria.  Panel debate will take place tomorrow at noon. 18:00 University of Copenhagen Amager Room: Auditorium 23.0.50.

Amidst the chaotic state in the Middle East, the Kurdish female warriors influence the image presented in the Western media significantly. They have truly surprised the world about how free and equal they are in a region, in which women otherwise suffer from patriarchal society norms.

Although the Western media and the public primarily have been occupied with these women’s appearance and attire, many wondered about the liberated position that the Kurdish women have taken in the fight against the terrorist organization ISIS. Despite ISIS’s endless brutality against civilians in the Middle East, the Kurdish women have given the world hope and shown that radical forces such as ISIS will not be allowed to destroy the already weak / weakened democratic values in the region.

Although the media coverage of Kurdish women have been intensified, there has on the other hand only been a few stories which commented on the position that these women took in the fight against radical groups such as ISIS in an analytic way.

Obviously, these women have not just joined the fight from one day to the other. There is a socio-cultural and political history, which underlies the Kurdish women’s strong position in the society. We will learn more about the socio-political factors in the panel debate, which have played a role in the development of a democratic view on women in Kurdistan.


*Kariane Therese Westrheim, Phd, Associate Professor at

University of Bergen. She has studied The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (the PKK), from an educational perspective.

*Dilar Dirik, Phd student, Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge. In her PhD she is researching the Kurdish Women’s Movement. She will comment on the socio-political factors that constitute an important part of the development of the Kurdish Women’s Movement.

*Anja Flach, a German journalist. During the years she has been occupied with the Kurdish issue. She will impart a journalistic perspective based on her knowledge on the Kurdish issue and the Kurdish women’s movement.

*Nina Rasmussen, author and adventurer. In 2014 she traveled for two months in Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria (Rojava ) and Turkey. On the last trip she visited female soldiers in the front at Rojava and female PKK soldiers in a camp in Kandil mountains.

*Afshin Berahmand, has worked in the United Nations, where he was responsible for women in conflict: “Women, peace and conflict”. He will address specific challenges in which the women in Iranian Kurdistan face, for example the theocracy in Teheran.

The debaters will do a 10-minute presentation and afterwards the debaters will have a change to comment of each other’s presentations. Lastly, there will be a Q&A from the audience.

The debate will be held Tuesday 24. February 2015 at 18.00 at the University of Copenhagen – the Faculty of Humanities (Det Humanistiske Fakultet).