Sudanese Women Demand Power In New Government

By Michael Atit

Activists are calling on Sudan’s military and opposition leaders to open the country’s political process to women when the sides begin to implement their recent power-sharing deal.

For most of Sudan’s 63 years as an independent country, women were not allowed to get involved in politics due to cultural norms and other restrictions.

Women say they have been marginalized and denied a chance to participate in public affairs, especially during the 30-year regime of former president Omar al-Bashir.

Women’s rights activist Manal Bashir, who helped mobilize women during the protests that led to last week’s power-sharing deal, says now is the time for women to speak up for their rights.

“We had been oppressed, discriminated within our homes, at the regulations even so we found ourselves lacking behind and we were aware of this status. So, we didn’t leave this status behind but we worked a lot to achieve the change in our lives,” Bashir told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Activist Naimat Abubaker Mohammed says under Bashir’s rule, women were afraid to speak up because the environment was not safe for anyone, male or female, to be active in opposition parties.

“If you are a politician that means you will expect that you will go to prison, you will be detained for a long time, you will be fired from your job,” Abubaker said.

Sudanese journalist Mashaeir Ahmed says women played a key role in overthrowing President Bashir.

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“They have been working as a coalition demanding real change. They want to surface as women leaders in the society, even though this will be against some cultures, but women have decided not to be behind again,” Ahmed told South Sudan in Focus.

The proposed power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council and the opposition stipulates that women should hold at least 40 per cent of the country’s national legislative seats.

While embracing the move, Abubaker fears there may not be enough qualified women to fill that number of seats.

 Activist Naimat Abubaker Mohammed says under Bashir’s rule, women were afraid to speak up because the environment was not safe for anyone, male or female, to be active in opposition parties.

“If you are a politician that means you will expect that you will go to prison, you will be detained for a long time, you will be fired from your job,” Abubaker said.

Sudanese journalist Mashaeir Ahmed says women played a key role in overthrowing President Bashir.

 “They have been working as a coalition demanding real change. They want to surface as women leaders in the society, even though this will be against some cultures, but women have decided not to be behind again,” Ahmed told South Sudan in Focus.

The proposed power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council and the opposition stipulates that women should hold at least 40 per cent of the country’s national legislative seats.

While embracing the move, Abubaker fears there may not be enough qualified women to fill that number of seats.

Source: Voice Of America

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