Women's Empowerment

With a total population of approximately 37 million in Sudan,, women account for nearly half of the society. Sudanese women gained the right to vote in 1964 and their right to equal pay in the 1970’s. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates 25% representation by women at all levels. This has provided women with the opportunity to assume leadership and decision-making roles in the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan. This important gain has been coupled with an increase in the number of working women in urban areas. According to the 1993 census over 90% of rural women in the different regions are members of the workforce, with higher percentages for the western and southern regions as compared to the north and east. However, there are still major challenges constraining women’s access to justice and equity as well as to leadership positions, which are often related to social norms and traditions.

In Southern Sudan women experience harsh living conditions and have suffered disproportionately from the effects of the war. The lack of access to maternal health care and to education, in addition to social and economic inequities make women more vulnerable to poverty and to contracting deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. While women contribute directly to most of the agricultural production, they have less access to land, credit and marketing facilities, as well as to health and agricultural extension services, advice and packages.

The twenty-two year conflict, that consumed much of the country’s resources, played a major role in hindering the process women’s empowerment in Sudan.

Given the importance of empowering women in the country, UNDP aims to mainstream gender throughout its programmatic activities and is helping national partners to identify and implement a sound gender strategy in order to promote gender equality and development in Sudan.

In Darfur, where the lack of security has made women more vulnerable to violence, UNDP supported rule of law project Addressing GBV in Darfur, is also helping raise awareness on the issue, and develop the legal capacities that enable victims to respond swiftly and adequately when they are subject to this type of violence. The Good Governance and Equity in Political Participation in Post Conflict Sudan Project and Good Governance and Equity in Political Participation in Southern Sudan the Gender Mainstreaming initiative are two other interventions that address women's empowerment in Sudan and serve are an example of how UNDP is integrating gender in its programmes.

Closed Projects
Gender Mainstreaming Initiative
Addressing GBV in Darfur




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