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Women and the Revolution’s Government – What to do?

By Rasha Awad

 

Notwithstanding the intense and active female presence in the glorious December revolution since its outbreak, institutions of the transitional period in Sudan came with limited female representation, which had had duly anger sparked among those interested in the issue of gender equality and justice. Even the new government after the Juba Peace Agreement did not differ from its predecessor as regards the weak representation of women (four Female ministers among 25 ministers). This defect may pass to the Legislative Council, even though the constitutional charter stipulated that 40% of its membership should be women. To address this issue, the Sudanese feminist movement, with all its ideologies, needs to develop a strategic plan to change the reality of the political, social and economic marginalization of the Sudanese women. Admittedly, this change is organically linked to the comprehensive change in the country in the direction of peace, democracy, social justice and global human rights. Yet this “organic link,” however, does not contradict the fact that the process of changing women’s reality needs allocation of independent platforms that focus in their work on achieving gender equality and then enhancing the participation of women in decision-making positions. What makes these special efforts necessary is that the discriminatory mentality that prejudices women as a gender is intrinsic in most of our national cultures, customs and social traditions, which requires commitment to positive discrimination policies as a temporary necessity. In the context of developing a strategic vision for how to achieve qualitative progress in the issue of enhancing women’s equitable participation in this foundational stage of Sudan’s history, I mention below a number of observations that I see as important highlights when designing any strategy for the advancement of women in Sudan:

 

First

Progress in women agenda cannot materialize without an intellectual enlightenment that establishes a special philosophy for feminist liberation in our multiple cultural contexts. Women must possess the cognitive qualification and moral courage to criticize the heritage that consecrates inferiority of women and to explore what is positive in this heritage towards women and to strengthen it and link it to global human development in women’s rights and human rights.

 

Second

Albeit increasing, the number of women in positions of executive, legislative and judicial authorities, and in all areas of public service is an important goal, the real progress that is in the interest of all women in the country depends on the extent to which women in leadership positions are aware of women’s issues and their commitment to the continuous work of institutional reform in all public service institutions in the country are moving towards gender equality, starting with the rights of health care, education, training and employment opportunities, passing through legal reform and ending with the removal of structural barriers that hinder the advancement of women to decision-making positions.

 

Third

There must be an organized work in support of women’s political training and exploring leadership and management capabilities, and utmost care in order to provide the public sphere with women with a high degree of competence and professionalism in various fields, as women’s failure in the public office would not be a personal mistake, but rather an argument that supports the exclusion of women from public work, and this is due to the negative prejudices against women. Although this logic is completely unjust and corrupt, we cannot ignore it and must take it into account.

 

Fourth

Women cannot be tackled as one concrete political and social group despite the fact they all often share suffering from negative discrimination. Women are different intellectually, politically and in terms of class; thus their positions differ in the map of the intellectual and political struggle and their stances against change. There are women who strongly oppose the idea of ​​equality for ideological reasons, and there are men who struggle for the sake of gender equality, and even women seeking to liberate women have different philosophical and intellectual references, work methods and priorities for change. Therefore, achieving progress in the cause of women requires a mind-set that accommodates this pluralism and is aware of its complexities and is able to positively influence the cause by mobilizing women from all walks and persevering in developing their awareness of democratic rational dialogue, and thus broadening the social base supportive to women’s liberation.

 

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