Sudan: While Peace Deal is Signed, Feminists Fight for Representation

In Sudan, women are well-represented in the workforce. They are not lacking in any public spaces. And over the past few months, they have made up half, if not more, of the protest crowds making demands of their new transitional government.Women were an integral part of protests that led to the ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir, as well as in demonstrations after his fall. However, many female leaders now say they feel they have been locked out of political agreements and do not expect to be named to any positions in the Regional Council.Many feminists have been pushing to negotiate a 50% quota for women in government. Others have argued that 40% would be a more reasonable demand, as the current rate is 30%. But even the 40% has not been met.A young woman protests for more transparency outside the SPA headquarters (E. Sarai/VOA)“Our ambition was to have 50% representation in the government, or at least 40%, but this didn’t happen,” Haifa’a Farouq, a feminist and representative of the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), told VOA.Farouq is in a unique position; though she works with and for the SPA, she has also taken part in many protests organized by women outside SPA headquarters.“Women who have taken to the streets since December have done so so the issues important to them would be priorities during the transitional period,” she said. But she, like many others, remain disappointed.
Sudan: While Peace Deal is Signed, Women Fight for Representation video player.
Nahid Bustami shares her protests sign with another woman (E. Sarai/VOA)But feminists who have taken to the streets partly because of the public order say they don’t feel the women currently poised to take office will address their concerns.“There is an absence of real representation for women,” Nahid Bustami, a protester, told VOA.“For me as a feminist, I am not seeing feminists who can represent me in the government. There are women, but they don’t represent women’s issues.”Sudan’s TMC and opposition will formally sign their political agreement Saturday and will name members of the Sovereign Council on Sunday.But many women who have led what they call their country’s revolution are unwilling to remain silent, as long as they still feel underrepresented.

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