IWD 2020 - “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”

Statement by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son on the International Women's Day 2020

This year, Sudan commemorates the IWD for the first time in 30 years as a country free from dictatorship and looking to a future where the transformation of gendered social relations to equality is possible.

The IWD theme this year, “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” is linked to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is recognized as the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere.

Beijing was epoch-making in the strength of diversity and in the numbers of women activists and gender equality experts (over 30,000) who attend that conference.

Sudanese women were part of that groundbreaking conference in 1995 and contributed to formulating the Platform for Action.

Globally, we have seen some gains since Beijing. About 131 countries now have laws protecting women's rights and more girls are in school than ever before. But the remaining challenges are huge. Violence against women continues at alarming rates, only 26% of women work in specialized technology fields and women are still paid 16% less than men.

IWD 2020 is bringing together the gender equality advocates and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the Beijing Platform for Action more than two decades ago with the next generations of women’s rights activists. Collectively, these change makers of all ages and genders can tackle the unfinished business of addressing gender inequality.

The UN in Sudan has been fortunate to bear witness to the courage, determination and resilience of women of all ages in Sudan as they stood down a 30 yearlong dictatorship to change the governance landscape in Sudan.

That change is now yielding tangible benefits for women in terms of more open spaces for representation and participation in government, the repeal of oppressive laws, women’s inclusion in peace processes and political will of the government to prioritize women’s empowerment. We salute them.

Yet more needs to be done.

51 percent of Sudan’s population are women and 65 percent are under the age of 25. Reflecting on the pivotal role that women and youth played in bringing about change in Sudan, we cannot ignore the reality that women and youth are a crucial constituency for ensuring a progressive transition process and the stabilization of Sudan.

The question before us therefore is: how can we support the women and girls of Sudan to contribute to rebuilding this country?

To move forward to a more inclusive, equal and stable Sudan, need to see more women in politics and decision-making, more women at the center of the peacebuilding processes, a more friendly legal and policy environment for women and girls to claim and enjoy all their citizenship rights and an effective recognition of women’s roles economic, social and cultural spheres of nation building in Sudan.

The UN in Sudan under my leadership, has prioritized the needs and demands of women and girls in a UN  Action Plan of support to the transition; this includes ensuring the leadership and participation of women in sustainable peace; the ratification of CEDAW and a National Action Plan 1325; and mitigating the impact on women and youth of expected shocks from anticipated macro-economic and economic policy reforms.

To all the women, men, girls and boys of Sudan, on behalf of the United Nations in Sudan, I wish you a Happy International Women’s Day.

Let us all stand for generation equality.

Let us stand for a better Sudan for all.

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