Sudan: Women Continue to Pressure for 50 Percent Govt Participation

In what has become an iconic image of the Sudan protests, 22-year-old architectural engineering student Alaa Salah (@oalaa_salah) chants poetry from the top of a car, wearing traditional dress.

Khartoum — On Thursday, members of the Sudanese Women's Union held a vigil in front of the office of the Sudanese Professionals Association in Khartoum, demanding a 50-percent participation of women "at all levels of power and decision-making bodies".

In a memorandum read out during the vigil and delivered to the Sudanese Professionals Association, the Women's Union reviewed the participation of women in the uprising that led to the ousting of President Al Bashir, the enormous sacrifices they have made, and the violence they have been subjected to.

The Union demanded "a just participation of women in all government institutions on all levels of power", pointing to the Constitution Declaration, officially signed by the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change on August 17, that grants women a minimum of 40 per cent seats on each governmental level.

Yet, this is not enough, according to the Union. Participants in the vigil raised banners saying "We are half [the people] and we deserve half", and "We are also technocrats!" - as the upcoming interim Cabinet will be composed of technocrats.

El Rashid Saeed received the memorandum on behalf of the Sudanese Professionals Association. He praised "the pressure approach to achieve the demands", and expressed his "full agreement" with the contents of the memorandum.

Saeed said he would raise the memorandum to the FFC, and exert pressure as well to have the women's demands implemented.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdouk said that women were marginalised during the negotiations between the junta and the opposition.

Last Friday, the Sudanese Women's Union expressed its disappointment about the candidates for the Cabinet proposed by the FFC. The committee said in a statement that women have not been consulted during the selection of the candidates, pointing to the Declaration for Freedom and Change that calls for an end to all forms of discrimination and oppressive practices against women.

Earlier this month, African Union mediator Mohamed Lebatt expressed his concern that women may not be adequately represented in the new government.

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