DAMASCUS, 31 May1999 (Reuters)-Fourteen year old Aisha picked dirt from her fingernails and calmly recounted how her father used to rape her six years ago whenever they were alone at home." I told my mother who challenged my father. But he just shouted at her and said that he owned me and had the right to do whatever he wanted to me". Women in Syria are usually viewed as weaker than men in mind, body, and spirit. They are often not only discriminated, but also victims of violence and rape. Like in most Muslim countries women are veiled, isolated and many young girls are denied of education by their parents.
Although women had reached important achievements at many levels, the Syrian society does not yet completely support equal right laws. In addition, the fact of Syria being a Muslim country is not encouraging as most of public offices along with courts are filled with men.
During the rule of president Assad, however, the women's situation has improved, leading to new opportunities for Syrian women who are entering not only to government but also economic offices. This paper will try to show the relationship between the religious, suppressive society and the women's achievements in the educational, political and economic areas.
Since Islam is the official state religion there are several dress codes for women; the body is completely covered with black whereas the hair must be covered with a hijab. In addition, the laws of marriage, divorce and child custody are also of the Qur'an, hence, in complete favor of the men. Hanan Nijmeh, a lawyer and women activist, claims that Syrian laws "do not protect the women's rights". Therefore, violence against them is a serious problem as well as rape. Some women feel that it is better to be with...