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Women’s Empowerment: Gender and Social Equality

Haffiya Abdalla – Khartoum                                                                                    

The African Union Commission inaugurated the Internal Committee on the Fund for African Women on February 2021, a demonstration of the commitment by the Union to advance its quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Committee will be crucial in developing sustainable and comprehensive strategy on the transition of the Fund for African Women into a Trust Fund for African Women and overseeing the implementation of proposed activities to ensure transparency and efficiency.

Economic empowerment is central to the creation of gender equality, social equality, and obtaining the vision of creating vibrant, healthy and inclusive communities. Women’s empowerment remains a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro poverty-reduction, and the recognition of women in their society.

However, due to the limited sources of both private and public financing for women economic empowerment in Africa, coupled with the inadequate financing from national and international public funds, it became imperative for the African Union to establish a Trust Fund to compliment governments and international efforts in funding women’s economic programmes in Africa.

The inauguration of the Internal Committee is particularly timely as the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development, now the Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, enhances its implementation of the Gender Parity Project and rolls-out the activities for the African Women Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion (2020-2030).

The Definition of a Woman

Women are the umbrella of everything, and being a woman is a blessing from God. You have power no man has, power that makes you carry home tasks, work and children, as well as the problems of pregnancy and childbirth that no man can afford.

Despite all these troubles, you do not complain and do these tasks with a smile on.  You probably don’t need anyone to tell you why you should be proud to be a woman. 

Being a female is being a symbol of motherhood and that God has blessed you with the gift of pregnancy for 9 months and you feel your child growing in your gut, it is a wonderful feeling that no mother forgets.

They have the power to deal with problems although people perceive them as weak, power to confront conflicts vigorously and to take responsibility. Women have their own beauty, when God created women he made them a symbol of beauty, simplicity and agility, as well as the wisdom that does not exist in men.

History and books have marginalized women’s cultural contributions. Women have been responsible for creating some of humanity’s greatest works of literature and ruling entire nations long before gender equality had progressed to where it is now. Plus, our bodies are capable of all sorts of awesome things, like having like 13 different types of orgasms.

Despite how severely they were affected, women had a large role in the reconciliation between communities and the overall peace-building in the country. This is why USAID worked to gain additional support for the problems Sudanese women face.

In Sudan, the war has forced many of the women to become the heads of their households. It is estimated that the women that were widowed by the war became the heads of 60 percent of households in Sudan. 

The Female Role

Despite what some people think, women have always worked. Women played valuable roles in the pre-industrial market economy by laboring on family farms. Women were also important to the industrial revolution, often moving far from home and taking dangerous, low-paying jobs in order to support their families or live independently without support.

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action said that breastfeeding is an important women’s issue, human rights and feminist issue, since breastfeeding empowers women and contributes to gender equality.

Women who wish to breastfeed their babies but cannot – because of inadequate support from family or health workers, constraints in the workplace, or misinformation from the infant food industry – are oppressed and exploited. Groups and individuals interested in fighting for women’s rights and human rights should take action to change this situation, and recognize breastfeeding as a woman’s right. 

Women are empowered by asserting the value of both their productive and reproductive work. Women should never be forced to make a choice between mother-work and other work. Conditions supportive to successful nurturing are conditions which reduce gender subordination generally by contradicting negative images of women and emphasizing the value of women’s reproductive work.

Women’s participation in governance is crucial to the integration of gender equality priorities into peace building initiatives, the implementation of strategies and mechanisms for ending violence against women, gender responsive budgeting and women’s economic empowerment.

Women who have benefited from microfinance are highly educated, and with large family numbers they would be more empowered, particularly if they are heading their families.

Well educated women are more empowered because they have the ability and courage to access financial institutions and achieve all procedures of loan acquisition, which is considered one of the main problems that hinder loan access especially for females.

Women were at the forefront of the protests that led to the ousting of the al-Bashir regime in Sudan in the spring of 2019. The way in which they raised their voices to create change epitomized their resilience and strength, with reports that at times women accounted for as many as 70% of protesters, despite threats and acts of violence and rape against them.

However, fears remain that this largely informal participation will not be matched with equal voice and representation in the formal halls of power.

As it has occurred in a number of similar contexts across Africa and elsewhere, women often play an important role in driving political change, but are sidelined by the formal processes that follow.

Greetings to all women of Sudan who struggle to earn living.

Greetings to all Sudanese women, especially those from Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile. To those who keep living and fighting to achieve peace and stability. Women still have more hard work ahead in order to enjoy their human rights.

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