35 per cent affirmative action for women’s political participation in Bor key agenda item for diverse stakeholders

women peace security south sudan UNMISS peacekeepers peacekeeping United Nations UN peacebuilding gender politics leadership decision-making Bor

As the world's youngest nation begins gearing up for the annual 16 Days of Activism, diverse stakeholders in Jonglei vow to be ambassadors for women's inclusion in politics, governance and decision-making at an UNMISS workshop. Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS

20 Nov 2021

35 per cent affirmative action for women’s political participation in Bor key agenda item for diverse stakeholders

Mach Samuel

BOR - With South Sudan beginning to draft a permanent constitution and preparing for eventual elections, ensuring women’s voices are heard and included in politics, governance and decision-making is key.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), therefore, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in Bor, Jonglei, to train them in strategizing how to fully implement an important provision contained within the Revitalized Peace Agreement—35 per cent representation for women in governance bodies at both state and national levels.

The workshop, facilitated by the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Gender Unit, focused on developing messaging and advocacy tools to reach communities where gender stereotypes are, traditionally, very deeply rooted.

“It’s not just about numbers; it’s about what’s right for our nation,” said Elijah Mayen, Director General, state Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare. “As men, we need to be ambassadors for women and young girls to get equal opportunities.”

For her part, Tara Sadasivan, Acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office here, called on women and men to advocate equally and build networks for promoting equal rights and opportunities for women.  

“During my time serving in South Sudan, I have seen, met and befriended really strong women. They are passionate, committed and qualified to hold positions in government and be real leaders as well as influencers. To ensure women’s participation in leadership becomes a reality, we must incorporate a whole-of-society approach to advocacy. It is a fact that political and peacebuilding processes are more durable when women are fully involved,” she averred.

Ayii Daniel, a participant, echoed Ms. Sadasivan.

“Through conflict started by men, our women and young girls have lost their homes, their families and their education. It is time that we, as men, speak up for their right to an equal space in the home and in shaping the future of South Sudan.”

The forum recommended adequate investment in women and girls was paramount and that signatories to the Agreement should be held responsible if they evade to implement the 35% affirmative actions.