Female members of the Civil Defense “White Helmets” are changing society’s perception of them.
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Whether inside the country or as refugees, Syrian women have borne the brunt of the conflict over the last four years, forced to become the breadwinners of families which have been torn apart, while often facing untold abuses and exploitations. But ahead of International Women's Day Sunday, and as the war enters its fifth year on March 15, with over 220,000 dead and over 9 million rendered refugees or internally displaced, women continue their work for the uprising and challenge society's perception of them. The further demands of family life have also meant that women have not become as prominent in the civilian side of the war, says Susan Ahmad, an anti-regime activist.Herself forced out of Syria several months ago after learning that the authorities wanted to arrest her, Ahmad continues her work from the Gulf. In terms of the refugee population, younger women and girls are most at risk, Phelps says.There have been several prominent women members of the official opposition, but, as the current Vice President Nagham Ghadri is quick to point out, only five of the 115 Coalition body members are women.
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