Women in Shehba celebrate 17th anniversary of Kongra Star

Women in Shehba celebrated the 17th anniversary of Kongra Star, the women’s umbrella organisation.

Founded in 2005, Kongra Star, the women’s umbrella organisation, is celebrating its 17th anniversary. Dozens of women in Shehba came together at the Culture and Art Center in Ehdas for the celebrations.

Kongra Star executive, Şêrîn Hesen, saluted all women and paid tribute to Sakine Cansız, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez on the 9 anniversary of their murder in Paris.

Hesen underlined that Kongra Star has been working and struggling for free women without interruption for 17 years and added that they will not let the flag of struggle fall to the ground.

Kongra Star, 17 years working with and for women

Kongra Star (Kongreya Star) was founded in 2005 under the name of Yekîtiya Star (Kurdish for Star Union of Women), and is a confederation of women’s organizations in the Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria-Rojava.

The name Star "refers to the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar. Kongra Star has been instrumental in the significant advances made in gender relations in the region. Its work is based on the claim that "without the liberation of women, a truly free society is impossible."

The four founding principles of Kongra Star are as follows:

-Kongra Star is based on the voluntary union of democratic organizations, institutions and democratic figures. It is a confederal women's organization which organises itself in the form of communes, assemblies, academies, cooperatives, foundations, associations, parties, etc.

-Each organization, union or committee that joins protects its identity. It joins Star Congress based on principles of mutual dependency. The organization operates according to the principles of radical democracy.

-Kongra Star is responsible for the coordination, implementation and supervision of the decisions and policies of different institutions, organizations and canton assemblies.

- Kongreya Star is flexible and embraces diversity and democratic participation.

The First Congress took place on 15 January 2005. During this congress, the formation of Yekîtiya Star was declared. The women attending the congress began reaching out to other activist groups to begin discussing women's oppression across Syria.

Neighbourhoods and towns in Rojava are organized in communes of seven to two hundred people. These communes are organized into two networks: those run by TEV-DEM, which are made up of men and women, and women’s communes, which are the basis of Kongra Star.

Within women’s communes, women are encouraged to share their opinions and be active members of society, often for the first time in their lives. Women have a high participation rate in the communes, with the average ranging from 50-70%, with some reaching 100%.