DOHA, Qatar — The leadership of Syria’s main opposition group in exile is all male after elections failed to promote a single woman to the decision-making group of 41 members.
Some of the female delegates at the Syrian National Council conference in the Qatari capital of Doha rushed the podium in protest after the results were announced in the early hours of Thursday. They said the new leadership fails to reflect the key role of women in the push to topple President Bashar Assad.
On at least this point, the council appeared to fall short in its attempt to showcase a new diversity in the face of international criticism that it is not representative enough of the whole spectrum of the opposition. After the vote by more than 400 members of the council’s general assembly, the group tried to redress the lack of women in its new leadership. Abdelbaset Sieda, chief of the council, said he was ‘‘so sad’’ and would try to add four women to the general secretariat by decree.
‘‘The bottom line is that there is a recognition that the women got shafted, and that it has to be fixed,’’ said delegate Muna Jondy, 37, an immigration lawyer from Flint, Mich. It is ‘‘not going to cure the underlying problem, which I think was the lack of recognition of the importance of the voice of women at the decision-making table,’’ she added.
The council, established a year ago from a pool of long-term Syrian exiles and academics, has faced mounting criticism from within Syria and the international community that it is out of touch with those inside risking their lives on the frontlines.