“Our struggle is freedom. Our resistance is victory,” was the banner under which many women marched in North and East Syria on March 8. Women across the world are rising against patriarchy. As millions of people observed International Women’s Day across the world, the people of North and East Syria, despite the instability caused by war and conflict, observed International Women’s Day with major events including speeches, performances, dances, and gatherings.

International Women’s Day Celebration in Raqqa, Syria.

A women’s celebration in Raqqa has a unique meaning, as this was formerly the capital of ISIS, patriarchal militants who would have seen women as property of men, unable to work, earn income, own property, govern, vote, make decisions about home life, or even leave the home without a male relative. This week, women freely gathered, danced, and raised their voices in the streets, a long way from the crushing oppression women experienced under ISIS.

International Women’s Day Celebration in Kobane, Syria.

A gathering in Kobane featured speeches with representatives from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), Kongreya Star, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the Internal Security Forces (Asayish), as well as artistic performances.

International Women’s Day Celebration in Manbij, Syria.

Hundreds of women marched through the streets of Manbij in commemoration of International Women’s Day, with an event concluding in speeches, performances, and presentations.

Throughout the regions of Hassakeh and Qamishli, thousands of women participated in cultural and heritage shows to celebrate women’s lives and the movement for women’s rights. Many of the events were organized by Kongreya Star.