In an unfamiliar scene, signs bearing the names of four female nominees for local elections have appeared in the streets of the town of Ainjarah in the western Aleppo countryside. With hopes of victory, female candidates are entering into elections, aiming to serve local communities.
Amoun Rizouk, Kenana Rizouk, Ayat Mustafa, and Banan Rustam are all trying to active women’s roles in the community by running for local elections.
Each candidate is developing aims they will try to achieve in the event that they are able to win in the elections, in which 35 candidates are competing—31 of them men. The town’s people will vote to select just 15 candidates to occupy the seats of the new council, and the elections will be run by collecting the votes of the town’s residents and then announcing the result for each candidate.
In a statement to Alsouria Net, the candidate Kenana Rizouk said: “I decided to enter because it’s new for women, and in order to prove that women are able to participate and to confirm their role in society. This is my main aim.”
The candidate Banan Rustam told Alsouria Net that for four years she worked as a teacher in a school. She spoke about the hardships faced by students, and said that the most important thing for her was to support the educational process which has declined in recent years.
She added that she was trying to contribute to securing school needs in the town and said that “the shortages occurring now will not be addressed except through education.”
The current Deputy President of the Ainjarah Council and the Head of the Human Resources Office, Mohamed Hazem, said that they had “invited women to nominate themselves and participate in building the community, and to explain women’s requirements which had been somewhat absent.” He added that: “We are trying to preserve the role of women and their rights, as they are half of society.”
The most competitive positions are council president, deputy president, and the services and finance offices, as well as the human resources and aid office and other offices such as the education and statistics office.
The first local council was formed in Ainjarah in 2012 and had five successive sessions. The council includes representatives from neighboring villages, including al-Saloum and al-Qasimiyeh and Maklbees. Ainjarah has about 30,000 residents as well as displaced people who number about 4,000.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.