Sudan: Where are the Women in Government?
Sudan’s electoral system allocates 25% of seats in the national, southern Sudan and state assemblies for women. That’s a progressive system. It has some unexpected effects – for example the majority of the PCP representation in the national assembly will be women from South Darfur. The majority of the voters were women.
But in the new Government of National Unity, of 35 cabinet ministers, there are just two women. Amira al Fadil is Minister of Welfare and Social Security, and Halima Hassaballa al Naim, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. That’s disappointing to say the least.
Of the 42 ministers of state, there are six women, including Grace Datero (Foreign Affairs), Teresa Sirisio (Communications and Information Technology), Amna Dirar (Labour), Fadwa Deng (Environment, Forests and Urban Development), Sana Hamad al Awad (Information) and Su’ad Abdel Raziq (General Education). That’s a slightly better but still well below par. And of no woman has yet made it to the top of the key “˜sovereign’ ministries or into the presidency.
I too was disappointed that so few women were appointed. There are many strong, intelligent, educated, and capable women of all parties in the Sudan. This would have been a good time for both the North and the South to show some progression and inclusion.
The next few months are such crucial times and the more diverse voices in the process of preparation for the upcoming referendum, the better.
The new Government of Southern Sudan was announced earlier today, 21 June. Of the 31 cabinet ministries filled by the SPLM, seven ministers are women. This is a definite improvement on the national level but still (just) short of the 25% quota in the assembly and the 30% minimum level stipulated in Beijing.