Source: Jinwar

For many women regularly struggling under patriarchy-ridden systems, living without their male counterparts might sound like a mere fantasy.

However, a group of women in northern Syria have transformed this dream into reality. They created a self-sustainable feminist commune, free of the usual constraints imposed by patriarchy and capitalism.

Welcome to Jinwar

Source: Jinwar

Jinwar is a women-only ecological village located in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, a de facto autonomous region commonly known as Rojava. 

With the help of international volunteers and support of women's organizations, the commune was set up by local women's groups "to provide an alternative, peaceful place for the coexistence of women, free of any and all violence."

The initiative was first launched in 2016 and is still underway, but it already includes 30 homes, a school, museum, and medical center.

"Built by women and for women, the village will be home to Rojavan women of all ethnicities and religions, and their children," the commune's official website reads.

According to the Independent, the initiative was inspired by the many Kurdish women who had taken up arms to fight the so-called Islamic State (Daesh,) which was in control of the area a few years ago.

The extremist group massacred Yazidis, and raped thousands of women and used them as sex slaves. 

Additionally, many Jinwar founders suffered in their conservative, patriarchal communities and therefore decided to challenge traditional gender roles. 

The commune is self-sustainable

Source: Jinwar

From building houses, to growing crops and tending to animals, each woman in Jinwar plays a role in securing the community's needs and thereby promoting ecological and communal living.

"The village was founded on the principles of self-sustainability and aims to give women the opportunity to provide for their own basic needs," the website states.

Meet the women of Jinwar

Source: Jinwar

Jinwar resident Amira Muhammad, whose husband was killed by Daesh, told the Independent she moved to Jinwar with her children because she no longer wanted to financially depend on her parents. 

Zainab Gavary, another resident who is also a widow, said she moved to the commune with her son despite her mother's objections. "There's no need for men here, our lives are good," Gavary explained.

"Without women there is no freedom. Until women educate and empower themselves, there won’t be freedom," she added.

Not the first village of its kind

This wouldn't be the first time women abandon oppressive, patriarchal systems by creating spaces that ban men.

In 1990, a group of women who had survived rape by British soldiers founded a women-only village in northern Kenya.

The village Umoja has expanded over the years, welcoming women hoping to escape oppressive cultural norms among the Samburu tribe, such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, and rape.

Similarly, southern Egypt includes an all-women village named Al Samaha, which is home to over 300 single women and their children.