Jineology (‹See Tfd›Kurdish: jineolojî), the "science of women", or "women's science" (otherwise referred to as "Kurdish feminism")[1] is a form of feminism and gender equality advocated by Abdullah Öcalan,[2][3][4] the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the broader Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) umbrella. From the background of honor-based religious and tribal rules that oppress women in regional societies, Öcalan said that "a country can't be free unless the women are free", and that the level of women's freedom determines the level of freedom in society at large.[3]

Jineology is one of the governing ideologies of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

Jineology is the theoretical set of ideas that will create a new form of social organization. Jineology critiques the approaches of social sciences which defend the structures[5] of the state, patriarchy and capital. The theory of Jineology looks to explore new ways of studying human history with the goal of trying to interpret where the marginalization of women originated from. Jineology proposes a new way to look at social sciences. [6]

Kurdish women are committed to a social revolution through women’s liberation. This is done through many different events including women’s assemblies and re-education programs that are directed at trying to teach both women and men. This gives women the ability to obtain political knowledge, power and independence in a patriarchal society. This way of thinking gives birth to the idea that freedom for all can be accomplished through freedom for women. [5]

Aim of jineology is to direct women and society in the realm of knowledge and science and have the women be in control of it rather than the male rulers. Women should have the ability to make their own disciplines and reach their own interpretations and meanings so that they can share them with the rest of society. [5]


The theory of Jineology states that gendered oppression and patriarchal power developed in the Neolithic period at the same time as state structures and capital were created. The theory is attempting to understand why female history in the Neolithic period and before has been erased from mythology, archaeology and history[8].

The state has a deeply entrenched bias, based on a long history, that men are more capable of being strong and effective thinkers and this fact enables them to be in a position to hold power over women’s lives. [9] The subject area of social sciences was created in a male, class specific manner which inevitably leads to sexism. This way of thinking has defined militarism and violence as a purely male dichotomy which gives rise to sexist policies and practices against women.[7] The way to overcome this entrenched dominant and sexist social sciences field is to create a whole new way of thinking that means equality for all with no sexism[10], which is how the theory of Jineology was created. The Kurdish women’s movement of Jineology is attempting to denounce the sexist nature of the social sciences by “killing the dominant masculinity” and has taken into account Adbullah Ocalan’s writings. [11]

  • Brief history time table:
    • 1993: the women’s army was created
    • 1996: theory and practice for liberation from the patriarchal system
    • 1998: women’s liberation ideology
    • 1999: party formation
    • 2000: construction of a democratic social system with a framework of democracy and gender equality society structure[7]

In the past, patriarchal societies have pre-established positions of power that consist of pre-gendered aspects like subject and object. The man being the subject and the woman being the object. This understanding of power goes directly to the man and gives him the status of oppressor and the woman the status of the oppressed. This leads to deeply engrained sexism. [7]

Theoretical History: The first, second and third sexual rupture

In Abdullah Ocalan's novel on Political Thought of the Kurdistan Woman's Revolution and Democratic Confederalism he discusses two sexual ruptures that have taken place and theorizes that there will be a third in the future.

First sexual rupture

In old civilizations, the idea of “strong men” meant being able to trap animals and defend against danger. This gave males a position of dominance since they were the ones providing for their families. This then led to them having the opportunity to rule and create the first social hierarchy. This formulated the creation of the mother-woman cult, they were in charge of gathering and cultivation because they were low-risk activities that did not involve warfare. This breakdown of gender roles leads to a patriarchal society that is centered around the strong man. [12] The classification of gender roles led to the first sexual rupture where women were at a disadvantage compared to the strong man. Instead of a society where men and women both have an equal voice and the ability to have opinions or make decisions, this led to a single-voiced, male society. [12] Ocalan asserts that the first sexual rupture is a:

A transition was made to a one-dimensional, extremely masculine social culture. The emotional intelligence of women that created wonders, that was humane and committed to nature and life, was lost. In its place was born the cursed analytical intelligence of a cruel culture that surrendered itself to dogmatism and detached itself from nature; that considers war to be the most exalted virtue and enjoyed the shedding of human blood; that sees the arbitrary treatment of women and the enslavement of man as its right. This intelligence is the antitype of the egalitarian intelligence of woman that is focused on humanitarian production and animate nature. [12]

Second sexual rupture

The monotheistic religions heighten the detrimental feelings of patriarchy toward women. The culture of monotheistic religions towards women is what resulted in the second sexual rupture. According to Ocalan, “Where the rupture of the mythological period was a cultural requirement, the rupture of the monotheistic period was ‘the law as God commands’. [12] This way of thinking automatically marks women as being inferior and it is now under the sacred command of God. Woman under the dual domination of patriarchal societies and the religious state have no role in the public. The most obedient and “best” woman was the one who obeys her man and patriarchal society the most. Religion begins to be used as an apparatus to disparage women. Even being the woman of the house no longer had any social standing. [12] Her fundamental role was to look after her male children because their value was extremely important. She was not at all exposed to the public sphere. The lasting effects of sexism on the development of societies are substantial. The disparity between Eastern and Western society development has to do with the role that sexism has in their culture. The Islamic perception of sexism has created negative results compared to Western ideals when it comes to male dominance and female inferiority. [12]

Third sexual rupture against the dominant male

In order to breakdown the system of male dominance there needs to be a new, progressive attitude towards woman, man and their relationship. History displays the dominant male who achieved his power through with the rise of classed society, this leaves the woman with a lack of identity and integrity because the men decided this role for them. This highlights that the problem of man is much more important to address than the issue of woman. The woman is willing to create a new way of thinking about society, however it is the man that is not willing to revolutionize which is where the problem lies. According to Ocalan, " He fears that abandoning the role of the dominant male figure would leave him in the position of the monarch who lost his state. He should be made aware that this most hollow form of domination leaves him bereft of freedom as well and, even worse, it forecloses reform" [12] For woman to achieve a sense of equality, there needs to be a definition of woman and what her role is in societal life. Since a woman's status is degraded and portrayed as being inconsequential by the male-dominant society however, this should not hinder our ability to have an understanding of a woman's reality. [12]

One interesting feature that should not be ignored is that a woman's emotional intelligence is much more developed than a mans. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to regulate ones ability to have sympathy and empathy. This developed emotional intelligence awards her the ability to achieve a balanced life, to be devoted to life and to not be destructive in any way.

Freedom and equality are not able to be achieved without the attainment of gender equality. Woman's freedom cannot just simply be attained once a society has obtained freedom and equality, rather women need to figure out their own democratic aims in order to escape from the slavery that is so deeply entrenched in her way of life. [12]

Etymology and definition

In Kurdish, the word ‹See Tfd›jin means "woman", but also comes from the root ‹See Tfd›jiyan, meaning "life".[13]

In Liberating Life: Women's Revolution (2013), Abdullah Öcalan writes:

The extent to which society can be thoroughly transformed is determined by the extent of the transformation attained by women. Similarly, the level of woman’s freedom and equality determines the freedom and equality of all sections of society. . . . For a democratic nation, woman’s freedom is of great importance too, as liberated woman constitutes liberated society. Liberated society in turn constitutes democratic nation. Moreover, the need to reverse the role of man is of revolutionary importance.[14]

The PKK's Women’s Liberation Ideology describes jineology as "a fundamental scientific term in order to fill the gaps that the current social sciences are incapable of doing. Jineology is built on the principle that without the freedom of women within society and without a real consciousness surrounding women no society can call itself free."[15]

Öcalan has said "a country can't be free unless the women are free", that the level of woman's freedom determines the level of freedom in society at large.[3] To put into context the environment this comes from, violent oppression of women is prevalent in both traditional Kurdish culture and in the region in general. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is the most extreme emanation of Namus-based subjugation of women.

On a wider scale, proponents of jineology consider capitalism to be anti-women and thus jineology to be inherently anti-capitalist.[2]

Jineology in practice

Jineology is a fundamental tenet of the progressive KCK variety of Kurdish nationalism[13] and as such central to the Kurds' social revolution taking place in Rojava, their de facto autonomous region in northern Syria, led by the KCK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD).[13] Consequently, women make up 40% of the Kurdish militia fighting in the Rojava conflict[13] against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkish Armed Forces, and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army in the Syrian Civil War.[2][3][16] Women fight alongside men in the People's Protection Units (YPG) as well as in their own Women's Protection Units (YPJ).[2][3] In the YPJ, women study the political theories of Öcalan,[2] on whose ideology the foundations of the group were laid.[3] There exists also a political gender equality, which in practice means that in Syria in the areas governed by the PYD, the local political councils are comprised with at least 40% of each sex[17] and leading offices in politics, universities, police, or the military are co-chaired by a man and a woman.[18] In Turkey the political parties HDP and BDP both also practice the political gender equality. Both parties have co-chairs of a man and a woman.[19]

The Jineology-based agenda of "trying to break the honor-based religious and tribal rules that confine women" is controversial and overcoming controversy in conservative quarters of society in northern Syria.[20] The development of Jineology is one of five pillars in the Kurdish women's movement in Rojava with the Kongreya Star umbrella organization, focused "on protecting each other, resisting ISIL and building an egalitarian community in the middle of a warzone."[21] Jineology is one of a range of courses offered at Kongreya Star's women's academy.[21]

Jineology is taught in Kurdish community centres throughout Turkey and Syria where women learn about female emancipation and self-defence (in relation to honour killings, rape and domestic violence[21]), and where female victims of domestic abuse are helped.[2]

The Kurdish Committee of Jineology is a committee of and for women, founded by the PKK, that is committed to building democracy, socialism, ecology and feminism.[22]

Democratic Modernity: What will the era of the women's movement look like?

Women having new freedoms will inevitably help to establish a new type of civilization where she will have an equal and unbiased say in the way the civilization is operated. According to Ocalan, the extent to which it is possible for a society to transform is based on the extent to which there is a transformation in the way that women are treated.[12] It is also apparent that the level of freedom and equality that women have is dependent on the amount of freedom and equality that will be felt by all sectors of this new society. This is the reason that there is such a strong need to inverse the role of man in order to have a successful woman’s revolutionary movement. Since the Neolithic period, women have experienced continued losses in a society that is reliant on classes. Modifying this type of society and putting in on a new path will bring the most thorough social results. Women with this newfound sense of freedom will hopefully experience true liberation in levels and institutions of society. It is also crucial that certain ideological, political and economic villages are created based on women’s freedom. In the Middle East, in order for this type of transformation to occur it is up to the woman and the youth in society to guarantee the shift in society.  Ocalan states, “woman’s revolution is a revolution within a revolution”. [12]

Ocalan writes, “It is the fundamental mission of the new leadership to provide the power of intellect and will needed to attain the three aspects crucial for the realization of a democratic modernity-system: a society that is democratic as well as economically and ecologically moral” [12]

  • For this to become a reality, there needs to be a new academic framework that is a substitute for what used to exist. These alternative academic frameworks should be constructed with societal areas in consideration like agriculture, technology, politics, history, culture, religion, etc. It is important to have a strong academic base in order to have success in an alternative framework.
  • Since the struggle for equality for women has been part of history for such a long time, democratic modernity is only going to be possible through an extreme change in our mental and material reality. These changes have to be a group consensus and they have to be built together.
  • In conclusion, Ocalan posits that the struggle for women’s freedom will be created through the creation of their own political parties which will then lead to the building of their own non-governmental organizations and structures of democratic politics. The strongest women are able to emerge from the grasp of male domination and the more likely this is to occur the more likely women will create their own independent leadership. The more women attempt to empower themselves, the more likely they are to regain their own personality and self identity. [12]

See also


  1. "Jineology: Kurdish Feminism - Deep Green Resistance Great Basin". 5 April 2015.
  2. Argentieri, Benedetta (30 July 2015). "These female Kurdish soldiers wear their femininity with pride". Quartz (publication). Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  3. Argentieri, Benedetta (3 February 2015). "One group battling Islamic State has a secret weapon – female fighters". Reuters. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  4. Argentieri, Benedetta (8 February 2015). "Women vs. the Islamic State: The Kurds have a secret weapon against brutal jihadists — female fighters". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  5. "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Experiences from the UK's first Jineology camp". We are Plan C. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  6. "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Experiences from the UK's first Jineology camp". We are Plan C. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  7. "Why Jineology? Re-Constructing the Sciences towards a Communal and Free Life". kurdishquestion.com. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  8. "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Experiences from the UK's first Jineology camp". We are Plan C. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  9. "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Experiences from the UK's first Jineology camp". We are Plan C. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  10. "Why Jineology? Re-Constructing the Sciences towards a Communal and Free Life". kurdishquestion.com. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  11. "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Experiences from the UK's first Jineology camp". We are Plan C. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  12. Ocalan, Abdullah (2017). Abdullah Ocalan. London: Pluto Press. pp. 63–90. ISBN 9780745399768.
  13. Lau, Anna; Baran, Erdelan; Sirinathsingh, Melanie (18 November 2016). "A Kurdish response to climate change". openDemocracy. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  14. Abdullah Öcalan (2013). Liberating life: Women’s Revolution (PDF). International Initiative Edition. p. 57. ISBN 978-3-941012-82-0.
  15. Düzgün, Meral (July 2016). "Jineology: The Kurdish Women's Movement". Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. Duke University Press. 12 (2): 284.
  16. Al-Khalidi, Suleiman. "FSA commander says 25,000 Syrian rebels back Turkish force in Syria".
  17. Mogelson, Luke (2017-10-30). "Dark Victory in Raqqa". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  18. Rakka, Petra Ramsauer,. "Augenschein im Utopia der syrischen Kurden | NZZ am Sonntag". NZZ am Sonntag (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-29.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  19. Nordland, Rod (2016-12-07). "Crackdown in Turkey Threatens a Haven of Gender Equality Built by Kurds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  20. "Syrian Kurds tackle conscription, underage marriages and polygamy". ARA News. 15 November 2016.
  21. Clarke-Billings, Lucy (6 October 2016). "The Women Leading a Social Revolution in Syria's Rojava". Newsweek. New York City. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  22. Maria Sáenz, Charlotte (18 March 2015). "Women Up in Arms: Zapatistas and Rojava Kurds Embrace a New Gender Politics". The WorldPost. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 November 2016.


  • Liberating life: Women's Revolution. Cologne, Germany: International Initiative Edition, 2013. Abdullah Öcalan. ISBN 978-3-941012-82-0.[n 1]
  • Killing the Male. Abdullah Öcalan.
  1. A PDF of the book is available here at the International Initiative website
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