Jineology: Kurdish Feminism

jineology: Kurdish feminsimThis article out of Kurdish territory in the northern regions of Iraq struck our interest. We think you’ll enjoy it as well. Feminism is by no means a western creation, or a worldview that is only applicable in certain contexts. This branch is fascinating to us, and is engaging in direct conflicts with some of the most overtly violent patriarchal institutions in the world, such as ISIS. Without further ado, here is the article by Gönül Kaya, a journalist and representative of the Kurdish women’s movement. This article is the transcript of her speech at the Jineology Conference in March 2014 in Cologne, Germany.


The Free Women’s Movement of Kurdistan evaluates jineology as an important step in its ongoing intellectual, ideological-political self-defense and mobilization struggle of about 30 years. I would like to introduce -albeit briefly- the main principles of jineology, which the Kurdish women’s movement offers to the women’s movements around the world.

Jineology is described as the “creation of a women’s paradigm” by the freedom struggle of Kurdish women. This represents a new phase from the perspective of the Kurdish women’s movement. The Kurdish women’s movement emerged and developed within the Kurdish national liberation struggle. From 1987 on, it began with specific and autonomous women’s organization works. After this development, many important changes and transformations occurred in Kurdistan, which have also determined the societal struggle. On one hand, the Kurdish women’s movement advanced its specific and autonomous organization internally, but on the other hand it transmitted and thus shared its findings with all areas of the societal struggle. The people’s uprisings against the colonization of Kurdistan (in Kurdish: “Serhildan”), which started after 1989, were led by women. From the viewpoint of Kurdish society, this was the beginning of a national resistance phase with a new women-focused character. In this sense, the women’s movement advanced its theoretical and practical work in fields such as intellect, politics, society, culture, and self-defense. The following key stages were: 1993 – formation of the women’s army, 1996 – theory and practice for the emancipation from the patriarchal system, after 1998 – women’s liberation ideology, 1999 – party formation, from 2000 on – construction of a democratic social system within the framework of a democratic, ecological, and gender-egalitarian societal paradigm. The creation of women’s councils, academies, and cooperatives were achieved in this context. Under the motto “Women’s liberation is the liberation of society”, the women’s movement focused on ideological, philosophical, and intellectual work . Within the frame of the unity between theory and practice, it worked towards a transformation of the thinking of women and society, as well as towards an increased consciousness. It was looking for answers to questions such as “Who is the woman? Where does she come from? Where does she go? How has she lived until today? How should women live? What kind of society?” and developed a critique of the prevailing scientific field.

As you all know, in history, rulers and power holders have established their systems first in thought. As an extension of the patriarchal system, a field of social sciences has been created, which is male, class-specific, and sexist in character. This field is in turn broken up into different parts that are torn apart from each other. The implementation of the interpretations of these sciences has led to devastating results for nature, society and human beings: The normalization of militarism and violence, the deepening of sexism and nationalism, the unrestrained development of technology, especially weapon technology for the control of society and individuals, the destruction of nature, nuclear energy, cancerous urbanization, demographic problems, anti-ecological industrialism, Gordian knots of social issues, extreme individualization, the rise of sexist policies and practices against women, rights and freedoms that only exist on paper.

At this point, we propose Jineology. It was observed that it is necessary to overcome the system of the dominating field of science and to construct an alternative system of science. In addition, we understood that the existing fields of the social sciences must be freed from sexism.

The term Jineology was concretely used for the first time by the Kurdish people’s representative Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in his writings from 2003 in his work “The Sociology of Freedom”. Öcalan expressed that women and all individuals, societies, and peoples that are not carriers of power and the state need to develop their own and free social sciences, that these sciences could be called Sociology of Freedom, that these in turn could be based on Jineology, because movements that aim at a free, equal, and democratic communal society have a strong need for Jineology.

The term Jineology means “women’s science”. “Jin” is Kurdish and means “woman”. Logy is derived from the Greek term “logos” for knowledge. “Jin” in turn comes from the Kurdish term “Jiyan”, which means “life”. In the Indo-European language group and in the Middle East the words Jin, Zin or Zen, all of which mean “woman”, are often synonymous with life and vitality.

In the history of humanity, the woman was evaluated as the first existence that has gained knowledge about her own self. Life and sociality were knitted on the basis of moral and political principles with the woman at the center. Natural society with its moral and political values was built by the woman. There is an unbreakable bond between women and life. The woman represents animportant part of social nature in her body and in her meaning. This is the reason for associating woman with life. The woman represents life, life symbolizes the woman. For this reason, Jineology as women’s science is also referred to as the science of life.

Read the full article here: https://libya360.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/43673/

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