Women standup for right representation, says MP

Gender & Equality
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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] A conference on women’s participation in decision-making in Yei calls on women to support each other to achieve successful participation. A female Member of Parliament in Central Equatoria State Assembly urged women to support themselves and leaders towards achieving thirty percent representation at all government levels. Speaking on Wednesday during the opening of conference Honorable Jenifer Yabu made a call to women to always stand behind each other. “If there is a woman appointed or elected to top position, let us appreciate and promote her so that she will be our eye as women. Let us work hard so that we can accomplish thirty five percent and more than that”, MP Yabu told participants. She noted that women are facing a competitive challenge with men in achieving the goal of thirty percent representation because many women are illiterate, but echoed that education is ageless. To achieve this, Yabu encouraged women to value education and ensure that every girl attends school. “We who are still with eyes blind, let us know that there is no age limit in education. Our children, let us encourage them so that the go to school to represent us,” she explained. Stressing that there is a need for women across South Sudan to embrace love with one another and stand firm on the fight for their right including equal representation in government and decision makings, Yabu decried the low representation of women in the top levels of the country’s leaderships in Africa. “If you can see in leadership, there are not so many women there because in a forums or some times when the leaders are elected, you cannot find a woman at least to represent the women”, she said. Women have often raised complaints about their exclusion on decision making and participation in leadership, which they say is a violation of their right. This has raised a concern of the Community Empowerment for Democracy and Development (CEDED), a civil society organization that organized a three days women conference to enable women share their issues on roundtable and strategize modalities of implementation. The three day long conference for women in Yei drew together about one hundred women and fifty men to dialogue on the participation of women in the decision making. Speaking at the same conference, Eric J. Moses, the executive director of CEDED cited the “exclusion of women in key decision making at all levels of the society” including family meetings, marriage negotiations and resource allocation as some of the most pressing issues women have been discussing. “When it comes to meetings that are being organized in the house you find that they are always being excluded and another example I can give is that when it comes to marriage negotiations, women are always being left out, it is only men who sit and discuss on behalf of women”. In the case of South Sudan, there are no single women who are bishops, other than at lower positions, Eric said. He observed that women’s exclusion has been witnessed in the government appointments and the church where women are denied from becoming top leaders. “When you look at the government the appointments that are being done, you find that most of the people who are appointed are men so women are being left out”, said Eric. Eric believes that the conference will really provide the platform for women to get into the barriers that hinder them from no participation in leadership. Meanwhile the mayor of Yei Municipality, Santo Paul Lasuba, appealed to parents to work in cooperation with the government in tracking down violations against the rights of children especially girls. Reminded participant about that incidence in the conference, mayor denounced marrying off of underage school girls at the expense of dowry demand by parents. “It is our role as parents especially you the mothers. If anything happens, give the report to the government. Even though the father wants dowry, dowry for what and yet the girl is still small”, said Mayor. Recently, the high court in Yei sentenced a teacher to seven years in prison with a fine of 5,000 South Sudanese pounds for impregnating a young school age girl. Therefore, Yei River County Commissioner, Samuel Henry Malimbo, described the conference as a “first step” for women, asserting that ‘educating a woman is educating the family. He urged girls to dress decently in an effort to avoid the spread of HIV in young people throughrapes. “The target community in HIV is this young people, these children. If we let them finish, who are going to remain behind us”, asked commissioner. Reports from the HIV and AIDS authorities indicate that over 3,500 people are living with the virus in Yei River County with young people one of the key populations at risk, revealed commissioner.
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