- Ahmed Magdy Mahmoud
- Omnia Mohsen Omar
- Omnia Abdelwahab Mohamed Zaki
supervision of : Dr. RawyaTawfik – Dr.Abeer Rabei
Democratic Arab Center
The history of Sudanese women political participation starts with the struggle against Turkish colonialism when”MeheraBintAboud” and “RebhaAlkenaneia” were participated in battles and the later worked as messenger for Mahdi all over Sudan Then the struggle of women continued with their participation in the national movements joining their husbands and families against British- Egyptian colonialism as they were concerned with the communications and the security of the meetings.
Women’s political participation is regarded as not only desirable but vital to the advancement of gender equality women’s representation in Sudan also about Sudanese Women’s Movement ‘Women’s Representation in Post-Conflict Contexts the theoretical backdrop to peace building’ and Perceptions of Gender Equality women’s issues are political Women in parliament have not been able to bridge the political and religious divides Women are continuously and bravely putting women’s issues on the agenda, despite authoritarian constraints.
Women political participation starts with the concern and interest in public issues develops to the involvement in politics and political activism and reaches a peak of participation in elections as a voter or candidate
The participation of women in political and public decision-making is generally recognized both in political and in legislative terms as a basic human right Despite these gains gender discrimination remains a formidable barrier to women’s participation in formal decision making processes Political institutions tend to perpetuate an exclusionary attitude and culture of politics towards women.
The main question is:
Why the low rates of women political participation in Sudan?
- What is the extent of Sudanese women participation in legislature?
- What is the extent of Sudanese women participation in quota?
- What is the extent of Sudanese women participation in judiciary?
- What is the extent of Sudanese women participation inExecutive ?
- What are the main obstacles that face women political participation in Sudan?
- What are the suggestions to increase the rates of women participations in Sudan?
In this research we will cover the following points :
-the definition of political participation.
-The Sudanese quota for women.
– women participation in legislature.
-women participation in political parties.
_women in Executive
-women participation in judiciary.
_Sudanese women movements
-obstacles that face Sudanese women in political participation.
-suggestions to give more power to women participation in Sudan.
The reason for choosing the period from (1989-2010)
The study starts from 1989 because of the bloodless coup d’état and then the coming of government of national salvation which imposed Islamic totalitarian by restricting trade unions ,political parties and women’s organizations rather than the policies that were designed by the NIF (National Islamic Front ) that discriminates against women by means of criminal law , the law of prosecution , law of criminal procedures ,sacking 40% women working in ministries and corporations and closing women’s voluntary groups
The study ends in 2010 by the the election held in 2010 which gave more space to women by a quota proportion reach 25% as minimum in the legislature bodies
Procedural definition of political participation:-
-It is the political activity symbolizes the contribution of citizens and their role in the framework of the political system.
-In the broadest sense means a citizen’s right to lead a certain role in political decision-making process, but in a narrower sense it means the right of citizens to monitor and control these decisions following the issuance by the ruling
-Specifically means that the activity of the ordinary citizens in order to influence government decision-making process, whether this activity individually or collectively, organized or spontaneous, continuous or cut off, peaceful or violent, legitimate or illegitimate, effective or ineffective
Political participation of women in Sudan indicators
- Sudanese Women in Legislature
- Women in Political Parties
- Women in the Executive Authority
- Women and diplomatic corps
- Women in the Judiciary
- Women Political Rights
- Woman as Head of the State
- women movements in Sudan
-Sudanese Women in Legislature
The legislature includes the NPC and conditions of membership states that 25% of the entire organic private or indirect election of women and scientific and professional categories
election political process is one of the real indicators that reflect the extent of political awareness that enjoyed by women and by measuring their participation in the vote on the one hand and to stand on the other hand, we find that women in politics, specifically the election actively participated and the fact that women politically active the fact historical fact confirmed by statistics For example, indicate statistically in 1968 to the superiority of women to men in the voting, as well as women’s participation in the 1996 elections, we find that the number of women candidates in Constituency 13 candidate for me, women’s participation in the ballot in 1996, has ranged between 30% and 60% of women registered and weak ratio due relatively to Some traditions in the areas of Sudan, which hinder women’s participation, we find that the Sudanese to Sudan historical legacy in the democratic elections and totalitarian experiments
Sudanese legislative institutions are the national assembly and council of states the elected members in 2010 will serve for 5 years There are 446 elected parliamentarians in the national assembly out of 450 seats114 of them are women elected through women lists presented by parties Actually 112 seats were reserved for women but another 2 women won and increase women quota to 25.56%” Dr. BadriaSuliman” is heading legislative and law committee. The representation of women has increased from the democratically elected legislative institution in 1965 from 1 woman representing .4% to 77 women representing 17% in the appointed national assembly in 2007 to 25.56 % of women in the elected parliament in 2010 Quota system was necessary to ensure representation of women in legislations The Council of States composed of 2 representatives of each state, indirectly elected by state legislature, containing 50 seats. The total current members are 46, 5 of them are women representing 9.62%. The representation of women increased from 6% (2 women) in the council of 2005.
Received the Sudanese elections conducted in April 2010 wide interest at the regional and international levels as well as internal election is the first democratic elections in more than 20 years it came months before Only southern Sudan referendum on self-determination, election law in 2008 for the first time recognized the right of women to private chambers without impairing the right to public services and to allocate 25 percent of legislative seats for women We find that the number of women in the various lists in the elections of 2010 list of women in quotas and in geographical constituencies and party circles was set 3217.
We find that women has been active and influential in the electoral process since independence as won the right to vote in 1954, followed by the right to be elected in 1965
The Sudanese quota
the quota system is regarded is an effective means for women’s political participation in decision-making process regardless the biological and gender differentiations that help them to influence the political and other decisions and to get their freedoms and rights like the civil rights, the right to be elected, the right to vote into political institutions and all what enforce their role in society
Since Independence ,Sudan witnessed 12 elections through the partial and military governments ,All of included seats for women with exceptions of the first and second parliaments specially in 1968 &1969 because in 1968 there were women candidates because of the abolition of graduates’ constituencies so they were just voters in political process and In 1999 because of the military take over government that led to the dissolution of the women union but the adoption of quota started officially in 1973 by a republican decision that came as a result of women mobilization for quotas, political elites recognition of quota advantages and attitude towards equality, it mainly based on the functional specialization of work which included ” Sudanese women’s union ,this contributed to enable women to have seats in parliament ,although the quota defined certain ratio or proportion ,few women were presented in parliament as the process was restricted by undemocratic proceduresIn 1989, National Salvation Government reserved 10% for women and nominated a number of women leaders in the executive body but a lot women were sacked and adopted a system called training within the popular defense and made it a condition for women’s training forces and promotion
In 1991,the fourth republican decree developed a mechanism guarantees women’s participation far away from parties which was called conference which was based on three main levels :the local ,the loyal and the federal aiming at enforcing the participation of a lot of sectors including the economic, studential ,political,diplomatic,administrative , Feminist movements regarding that women were allowed to get involved in the other sectors in addition to their sector. In 1995,the third constitutional decree resevered 8% for women and as a result, there were 21women who had seats in parliament.
in 2007 ,the Sudanese women parliamentarian caucus was established to enforce the participation of the female parliamentarians in all legislatures and give the women the right to handle political issues ,review the budget and enable women’s parliamentarian work ,except the Ansar Al -Sunna and Muslim brotherhood parliaments which had men only, according to Samia Hassan ,the president of the caucus, this organization was one of the factors that paved the way for the proportion of the quota (25%) in 2010
in this regard we should focus on the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement )that came to represent a turning point in the history of the country as it was the mechanism that ended the war between the north and the south by gave the south Sudan self _determination ,and focused mainly On the democratic transformation and as result ,the elections held 2010 and enactment a new interim constitution that recognize women right among others a new electoral law that give the women a representational ratio about 25% as a minimum in the legislative bodies of the country
2010 elections :
As we mentioned that women have 25% as a minimum in the legislatures ,these elections brought significant development as the system of conference that was followed before was abolished to be suitable with the new constitutionl and political development that were issued on the constitution like the freedom of expression, thought and opinion ,in addition ,decreasing the number of circles to become 270 constituencies by direct election and 90 constituencies by indirect election and included 35 circles for women As a result of the quota ,the number of women candidates has remarkably increased on the national and state levels as there were 2887 women on the national level and also on the state level ,for instance Khartoum has 710 women on the two levels, south Darfur had 254, North Darfur had 167,Western Darfur had 157 women ,and without the quota ,there will be there states without women candidates ,the Khartoum was the state that have women candidates because of its large population and the centralization of parties
While 25% of seats are theoretically by the elections law (NEA) which was based on the proportional representation at the state level and closed party lists, but in practice the parties aren’t obliged to produce a women list rather than the small parties haven’t ability to fund the women candidates well as women lists are nominated by the party so they have not an independent base of political power
Besides the increase in women candidates in parliament the adoption of quota system, the quota contributed to training the women has earned the experience in the partial work ,skill of communication, discourse and voluntary work ,the participant women were characterized by the religious diversity as were women of Ansar Al -Sunna .also there were Christian women rather than they were active in the economic domain in trade activities and the civil service as well as they received inferior education as most of them were university students and had experience in political activities
-asserting on the equality between women and men and getting rid of traditional cultures that marginalized women’s role in society
-remarkable increase in the seats women got in parliament and slight increase in judiciary
-achieving interactions and corporations with civil society and political parties for advocating and supporting the quota system and women representation in decision making process
-change in local governance law to be matched with parliament (amending it by applying a gender quota which will be 25 %
-increasing women’s participation in the political arena as voters within parties and activists in campaigns
-allowed the representation of some sects that were not existed before like the house wives,and religious minorities
The challenges :
Few women candidates in some states and political parties as well as the quota designed by the mechanism of list led to preventing a lots of women in the geographic states
Shortage of financial resources of political parties
Marginalization of the fiminest lists within parties
Decrease in the number of women at higher leadership posts or positions in political parties
Political parties have no specific programmes neither for training women nor for developing awareness about the quota system.
The exclusion the women that aren’t included in the list
Political parties were not committed to the standards the feminist list put but they worked to please or serve the partial bases rather than political efficiency
The absence of democracy and restriction human rights
The concentration was in Khartoum where the training and building cababilities regardless the rural areas and other states
Weakness of media role in spreading awareness concerning the election process and the women’s campaigns
-Women in Political Parties
Parties are entrusted with the institutions apply the quota and achieve their goals and beyond to increase the number of women candidates to include activating the political participation of women in political institutions, legislative and achieve the goals of democracy and justice quality and empowerment of women formed political parties in the early forties as part of the escalation of Activities Patriotic Movement led by graduates Conference
Women’s participation had been marked in political parties and the national struggle since colonialism and stormed the members of political parties, special ideological including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Communist Party of Sudan, which is the first party to open its membership to women was of”DrKhaledaZahir”first woman to join a political party and after Neil women their rights political hastened other parties work Deposit for women
The representation of political parties with a role and a clear impact on the political system and on the institutions of government slapped particular, the Foundation partisans affect its structure and its exact reflect the form of the form of the state’s vision of political parties for the political participation of women and the Sudanese the interest of these parties to women in their party and its impact positively or negatively, we find the number of registered parties in Sudan’s 84 commissioners parties those parties interested in political participation of women and its religious parties, sectarian parties, parties, ideological, religious movements
As part of the interests of the party, the party of women job strategy a comprehensive national plan to all walks of life in Alsudan included a special part of women has also been allocated 15% of the budget public of the Government of Sudan for the development of women’s programs as it represents tremendous energy
The first party which opens its membership for women was the Sudanese Communist Party in the fifties of the last century, Women participation in political parties were limited to women social committees Huge progress happened in the participation of women in the party structures now they occupy positions in the executive committees political secretaries and we find that “Dr. Mariam Elsadik”, is the Vice President of “National Umma Party”. The first woman heading a political party in Sudan was” Mrs. Hala Ahmed Abdelhaleem” Head of New Democratic Forces Movement in 2006 Now a days we had 3 women heading political parties after the split in New Democratic Forces Movement in 2010 “Mrs. Hala” conserve her seat as a head of Modern Democratic Forces Movement, and” Ms. NeimatAbubakr”was elected by the leading council as a head-of New Democratic Forces Movement. The third woman is Ms. MayadaSwarEldahab, Head of Liberal Party, Yet the membership of women in political parties is very limited studies regarding women in political parties are very poor
-Women Political Rights
The Temporary constitution of Sudan conserves for women the right to vote In the constitution of 1969 was the first constitution for Sudan and was concerned with women rights and there were many articles tackling women rights and equality between men and women, according to The constitution of 1998 women rights only stated in chapter 1 of the general guidelines which does not imply law enforcement and so was the transitional constitution of 2005 which was distinct from other constitutions by containing the bills of rights although it does not contain CEDAW but Sudan had ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Humans and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
-Women in the Judiciary:
Women participation in judiciary :
Women participation in judiciary is such a critical issue specially in Arab countries as Islamic scientists have argued over whether its allowed or not for a woman to become a judge , there was a statistics about women participation in six Arab countries and descending they were as follows 1)Morraco, 2)Lebanon , 3) Tunisie
As for Sudan it was ranked as the fourth country in women judiciary participation as it have reached 17% at year 1970.
Masculinity was not a main condition for occupying a position in Sudanese judiciary whether this position was in border cases or retribution or any other case of the cases that are against the Country , also women can take any position at any court of personal affairs that are concerned with any religion “Islamic or any other religion “
Women have been in judiciary since 1965 as the first woman judge was “EhsanPhakhry ” who climbed that position gradually as she was a judge at the court then she became the vice president of the judiciary in 1984 , then in 1980 ” NagwaFareed ” was appointed in 1970n, then women started occupying many judiciary positions until they reached a percentage of 20%.
Women enrollment in judiciary was originally initiated by male judges as ” EhsanPhakhry “after graduating she was planning to study medicine but after hearing about this initiative she changed her mind and decided to study law and applied for the faculty of law ,and she was appointed in judiciary after graduation but in the beginning she worked at the magazine ” مجله الأحكام القضائيه ” then she was transferred to civil court . so women were officially considered to have started working at courts in 1976.
As for the political and legal aspects in all the precedent constitutions until the last one of them no laws have prohibited women participation in judiciary , also as for the social aspects the female judge have mentioned that she haven’t found any difficulties . but in the personal affairs cases there were some conservations concerning women working in courts .
Sudanese woman participation have been higher in sudan more than some other arab and African countries as “EhsanPhakhry was the first female judge followed by “NagwaFareed ” and then women started to flow in judiciary until they reached 67 female judges by year 2002 .
The first appointment of women in the judiciary since 1965 and reached the appellate judge and went to the pension in the era of the rescue in 1989 The total number of women in the judiciary 6.7 It is not set women judge the judicial Authority since 1989 and so special to the people of the concept of a civil judgment against a woman to the judiciary and through it shows clear discrimination against women
Women hiring in the judiciary institutions have stopped since 1989 There were 6 higher court judges representing 5.6% and 31 general courts judges representing 26.3%.
Women participation in Executive:
Women participation in executive bodies is very important to empower the women in decision making process ,as since independence the sequential constitutions guaranteed women’s rights without any discrimination and enactment of laws that facilitates their participation 
Woman as Head of the State:
No women has rule Sudan yet, but fortunately Dr. Fatima Ahmed AbdElmahmoud, the first Sudanese Minister was also the first Sudanese women who could combat on head of state position on 2010 general elections and she got 30,556 votes about 3% representing Sudanese Socialist Democratic Union Party.
Women in ministries :
the first time of women participation in the executive authority was in 1971 when Nefeisa Ahmed Al Ameen became the first minister after that FtimaAbd Al Mahmoud became the minister in 1973 for social affairs ministry as well as EknesLocono was the first women to govern a state in 1991 rather than the number of women ministers has raised to reach 15 in 2002
women occupied lot of posts at the two levels (State &Federal ) ,as there were women that as advisors at the federal level such as Dr/Soaad El Fateh as advisor for child and women affairs ,BadriaSoliman as advisor for legal affairs in 2001 and there also women that worked as ministers at the federal state like Ehsaan EL ghabashawy as minister of health also as state ministers like Samia Ahmed Mohamed for ministry of care and social development and EshrakaSayed Mahmoud for ministry of international cooperation as well as at the state level like Fatima Mohmed Othman as a minister of education in great Darfur also occupied as governor like Hekmat Hassan as a governor of khartoum
depite the opportunities women had in the ministries the women women only occupy the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare as a minister or state minister. No woman at all had occupied the position of secretary general
Women in the Civil Service :
the Sudanese women have achieved high participation in this domain and occupied higher posts thanks to education they receive and the laws that facilitate their participation which enable them to contribute in production and national income
according to International Labor Organization in 1976 the urban Sudanese women in the labor forces equal one women in ten ,those who training and inferior education but this negative participation referred to traditional culture ,traditions and customs that prevent women from work ,On the other hand the participation of rural women reached only 10% because of poverty ,tribal affiliation and culture as well, however they are active in the traditional agriculture activities ,for instance ,women make up 80% of the agriculture activities in kutum in Darfur region ,this was referred to historic right of women to work in fields and rising rate of male _out migration 
In 1996 the number of the participant women raised as women made up 53.2% of labor force in the federal ministry of trade ,50.7 % of the ministry of interior and 54% of accountants .In 1999 the existence of women in ministries improved more and more to reach to make up 76% in the ministry of culture and mass communication and 70% in the ministry of finance ,however the post position were occupied by men as rmake up about 3.3 out of 9.4 in the labor force 
In 2004, women made up 44% within different jobs ,24% for technical jobs,35% for the administrative jobs ,90% for typing jobs which resulted in the total of women’s participation in public service under the government reached 51.1 %
In 2010 the participation continued more and more as following :
In civil service was 35%,in private sectore(10%),traditional agricultural was 78%
Ordinary jobs (13%),the industry sector(6.68) however the higher positioned still occupied by men 
women movements in Sudan :
in Sudan women movements were a result of women movements and the trials of female elites internationally and regionally, the women movement Begining goes all the way back to 1907 when the idea of teaching girls and hiring female teachers was accepted, and teachers were obliged to move to the schools founded in faraway areas, so then the teachers were considered as model of leading women .
Teachers had an important role in changing directions towards education, so they were like a social movement that was led to change concepts about women rights of education and labor.
Generally the insights of the colonies were against female participating in cities , and there was no recognition of women participation in agricultural productions because all the huge projects were distributed among men , and women were excluded and trapped in the traditional sector , as for the southern colonies they have controlled the relative freedom of Sudanese women .
Education encouraged women for engaging in social labor , so they formed some charities , and as national movements evolved and women freedom movement s around the world –especially the Arab world- some educated women started organizing associations like (cultured girls association ) and (promoting of Sudanese women association ) .
And of the important evolutions is women participation in syndicate work , but because the British administration prevented this participation ,women formed coalitions like: “teachers union ” that was transferred “1951” into( the syndicate of female teachers ) , however the only difference that was between the original syndicate and the female one was the prohibition of the British of women participation .
Forming associations is only an indicator for a growing recognition of educated working women and their social roles.
Even though associations started with social and cultural activities, they switched into political participation.
–Obstacles that Hinder Sudanese Women Political Participation:-
1-Starting from the patriarchal culture of the society which is reflected on the social and economic situation of women ending by the offensive discriminatory laws and practices of the authoritarian ruling regime the obstacles that hinder Sudanese women from political participation.
2-social and cultural obstacles are in control of the social heritage from the set of values to the impact of socialization in planting a total of perceptions about the role of men and women
3-constraints economical related to the spread of illiteracy and low levels of income and the Civil War, women are the most affected by poverty and high cost of living Home and its impact on the inability of the women that you make election campaign because of the poverty of where the amounts are large with limited resources as well as also lack of planning and a willingness to advance women before the election
4- special self-constraints of women represented in the same poor self-confidence or competence in the rival of the man in the year to work and engage in politics and they wanted governance and lack of women’s awareness of the importance of the political role
5-Under authoritarian rule political activities are held secretly and it is difficult for women to get involved in secret work due to norms and traditions.
6-Women do not own the social capital and the economic resources to advance their position or to participate in politics .
7- Lack of training to women in political parties and the exclusion of women issues in their programs.
8-Political parties are targeting women as voter, not as actors and can play enormous role in politics.
9- The media is playing an important role in erasing the modest women political participation, in Sudan women is rarely presented as politician in the media, even when they image a politician woman they impose their domestic roles and neglect their public activities. This false portrait ensure to the society the gender division of labour and express the vision of women never succeed if they are not mothers and wives although if they are politicians.
10-The low rate of women’s education in Sudan
11-Poverty impact of economic shifts to stand obstacle to political participation for women
12-Lack of knowledge and political awareness among the majority of women owing to the social oppression10-The weakness of women’s organizations in its membership, programs and the lack of visibility of her
-Efforts Done to Advance Women Political Participation:
1-The efforts to advance women political participation started from the measures taken by women movement from the 1950 to conserve women right to vote and continue until now in the struggle of national movements to achieve democracy.
- The need for national strategies to create a political climate enjoyed in individuals and groups, both men and women have the right to citizenship without discrimination and those strategies National rely on the scientific method in the legislation, planning and implementation of the preparation and qualification of human resources that women constitute an important aspect.
3-long-term strategies to change the retarded cultures
4-discriminatory policies in favor of women aimed at freezing the gap between men and women.
5- Models that highlight the successful women in various fields.
6-focus on the preparation of Women trainee and are able to take political positions through official institutions, associations and civil society organizations
7- Many women are involved in the public activism within civil society organization. They are struggling to achieve gender equality and attain women’s rights. Civil society organizations and women with in political parties havestruggled to advance women political participation by advancing the electoral system to include women list’ in the last general elections 2010 These efforts conserve 25% of parliament seats for women although the struggle was to conserve 30% of the parliament seats.
8-UNDP had implemented number of projects to advance women political participation and to educate them about the concepts of democracy good governance and equity They also had launched a forum for women in political parties.
9- The enlightened elite of politician who choose women as head of political parties had changed the situation of women among these parties and also proof that woman can lead political actions and processes.
This paper introduced the Sudanese women participation in all aspects politically ,economically and other sectors like agriculture and industry trying to explore factors of weakness and strength and political and cultural context asserting on the role women played despite the restrictions that was imposed on them and the law that hinder their participation through women movement even before gaining independence Sudan has seen an unprecedented amount of female activism and progress in the public arena. to assert on their rights to get involved in the society and the alliance with political parties as way of negotiation to get real representation as well as the alliance with civil society on the other hand ,the challenges and obstacles that hinder women participation like poverty traditional customs rather the protracted wars in Sudan
Thus, reaching some results as following :
_Although the Elections laws adopted the quota system as 25% as minimum which is victory for Sudanese women, there is still challenge by parties towards women by nominating them on their list and the loss of fund directed to women campaigns.
increased representation of women in parliament has not yet led to substantive representation of women because of authoritarian constraints a weakparliament, lack of judicial independence and media censorship.
_Although amending the executive laws to be adopted the quota system to be 25% ,the higher positions still occupied by men.
_the alliance between feminist groups and political parties and political elite and civil society including university and institutes was one of the main factor to bring the quota by 25% .
_limited raise in the representation of women in judiciary.
_the necessity of giving due care to training and education programme to provide real women participant by increasing their awareness.
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