Women in Sudan: Moving Forward

''The violence and injustice affected us directly''

After months of protests, mostly led by women, Sudan is on a road to the democracy it has been fighting for. Earlier this month a new Prime Minister and a Sovereign Council were appointed.

Gender Concerns International congratulated the two new female Sovereign Council`s members Ayesha Musa Saeed and Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh, hoping that they will meet the aspirations of the women in Sudan, who for long have been fighting against exclusion and discrimination. The victory of Ms. Saeed and Ms. Abdul-Masseh is not a success for Sudanese women only, but it is a great encouragement for women`s leadership all over the world.

During April this year, after mass civil -and later even military- protests, President Al-Bashir was temporarily replaced by a Transitional Military Council (TMC), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The TMC had planned to stay in power for the next few years, gradually preparing Sudan for democracy. However, the Sudanese continuous protest compelled TMC to finally sign a transitional agreement for civilian rule. On June 3rd this year, these protests where violently disrupted, killing over 100 people.[1]. TMC leader Dagalo remains a part of the new governance set-up.

The protests in Sudan have been mostly characterized by a significantly wide representation of women.[3]Women like Alaa Salah, commonly known as ‘The Nubian Queen’, went viral with an iconic photo of her chanting to a crowd. This photo managed to attract international attention to the protests. Halima Ishaq, another protester, explained to Al Jazeera why so many women have joined the sit-in: ''Us women suffered twice as much as the men. The violence and injustice affected us directly. And if it did not affect us directly it was affecting our children,’’[4]

The newly appointed prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, previously served the UN and was chosen by the protest movement. Gender Concerns International congratulates all women who have risked their lives for this cause. Hopefully peace and order will soon be restored, building a stable, gender-inclusive democracy for Sudan.

[1]Jamal Mahjoub, A season of Hope in Sudan, The New York Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/22/opinion/sudan-deal.html

[2]Sudan’s deposed ruler Omar al-Bashir faces trial over corruption, Al Jazeera, August 19, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/sudan-deposed-ruler-omar-al-bashir-faces-trial-corruption-190816160049237.html

[3] Nisrin Elamin and Tahani Ismail, The many mother of Sudan’s revolution, Al Jazeera, May 4, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/alaa-salah-sudanese-mothers-190501175500137.html

[4]Hamza Mohamed, Sudan’s female protesters leading the pro-democracy movement, Al Jazeera, April 23, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/sudan-women-protesters-leading-pro-democracy-movement-190423134521604.html

Photo: Lana Haroun