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Women at the forefront of Sudan’s political transformation: recommendations from a workshop on women’s rights, representation and resilience in a new Sudan

Working papers

Written by Rachel George

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 epitomised 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 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.

To address this challenge, Sudanese professionals, scholars and activists convened in London on 9th September 2019 under the aegis of the University of Khartoum Alumni Association of the UK and Ireland, the Sudanese Doctors’ Union UK, and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The event focused on cementing and enhancing women’s political voice and representation through the current political transformation in Sudan, with a particular emphasis on socioeconomics, law, health, education and conflict. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the session.

ODI’s Acting Executive Director, Sara Pantuliano, opened the workshop. Zainab Bangura, ODI Distinguished Fellow, former UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence and Conflict, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Health in Sierra Leone, told the Sudanese women who had gathered for the session, ‘Now that you have won this battle, the real war begins’.

Note: a new version of the report has been uploaded to include Box 5 – Conflict workshop recommendations. Please use the latest version here.





Rachel George with Mashair Saeed and Sara Abdelgalil