South Sudanese women's role in peace unrecognised, says Oxfam
With less than a month until the country forms a transitional government, South Sudanese women are demanding more leadership roles at all levels of decision making. A new Oxfam report launched today highlights the under-recognized but crucial role South Sudanese women played in the country's most recent national-level peace processes.
The report, titled “Our Search for Peace: Women in South Sudan’s National Peace Processes” and released by Oxfam together with Born to Lead and UN Women, demonstrates how, for years, South Sudanese women have worked hard to build peace in the country.
"Parties to the revitalised peace agreement must recognise our role and ensure that we are well-represented in the transitional unity government,” said Riya Yuyada, executive director of South Sudanese women’s organization Crown the Woman and chair of Born to Lead, a consortium of women’s rights activists.
“Throughout South Sudan’s history of national peace processes, women have persisted on making their voices heard, even though traditional gender norms often restricted them from doing so,” said Esther Soma, author of the report. Deep patriarchal norms in the country mean that South Sudanese women are often marginalised in decision-making. This includes in governance: for example, not a single state governor in South Sudan is a woman. The revitalized peace agreement includes a 35% quota for women’s participation in the transitional government set to be formed on February 22nd. South Sudanese women hope this requirement will be a catalyst for change.
"Across the world, evidence has increasingly shown that when women are meaningfully engaged in peace and governance, communities prosper. Higher levels of gender equality are associated with reduced conflict, a growing economy, and improved health, education and other indicators of wellbeing. Additionally, research is telling us that when women are involved in peace processes, the resulting agreement is 35% more likely to last at least 15 years," says Sarah Pelham, Oxfam's Policy Advisor for Inclusive Peace and Security.
“Women and girls have borne the brunt of the conflict, and we are tired. We have said it again and again: now it is time for lasting peace in South Sudan. We have marched, we have demanded space at the negotiation table, we have influenced the content and the implementation of South Sudan’s peace agreements. Our contributions to peace are clear. We have the right to be involved in decisions affecting our country; the quota that women successfully pushed for in the most recent agreement recognizes this,” Yuyada emphasized.
For further inquiry and to arrange for interviews, please contact:
Dominic Kango, Senior Media and Campaigns Officer with Oxfam South Sudan,+211 928 695 520, DKango@oxfam.org.uk
PoniAbraham, Communications Officer with Oxfam South Sudan, +211 921 720 973,email@example.com
Notes to editors
The full "Women in South Sudan's National Peace Processes" report can be found here
You can access The policy brief on Women in South Sudan's National Peace Processes