Women’s rights activists launch a petition calling for women leadership

Press Release

South Sudanese women’s rights activists have launched a petition calling for women leadership.

“Our place is not just in the kitchen. Our place is on the seats of leadership.”

Activists and advocates from different South Sudanese organisations banded together yesterday to launch a petition that calls for women’s leadership, asking the signatory parties of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS) to respect the 35 percent affirmative government slots allotted to women as stipulated in the agreement.

The petition was launched online by women leaders and activists of Born to Lead, a campaign and a growing coalition of women’s rights activists in South Sudan. Born to Lead is spearheaded by Crown the Woman, together with AMA, CAFAD, Crown the Woman, RuCAPD, Women Action for and with Society, Youth4Youth, WOPAH, with the support of Oxfam.

The petition was launched on the 70-day mark in the countdown leading to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

“South Sudanese women and girls make up more than 50% of the country’s population and have fully contributed the struggle for independence and peace. They have equal right to participate in building and shaping their communities and the nation,” the petition stated.

“There exist specific provisions in South Sudan legislation guaranteeing the role of women in leadership and protecting the rights of women and girls. These provisions include a 35 percent quota for women in the composition of the Executive of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. There can be no viable or sustainable peace and the full potential of South Sudan cannot be realized unless women are afforded key roles in leadership from the community to the national level.”

Offline, the women will be approaching South Sudanese citizens and leaders to explain the petition, and to encourage them to sign it. They are also encouraging their growing number of followers to tie a yellow ribbon on their wrists and outside – on the fences of their homes – to show their support for women, and to show their solidarity for the women of South Sudan.

Born to Lead was launched last month in Juba, through an event that was attended by over a hundred activists from different women’s rights organisations. During the launch, the coalition showcased women leaders from across the country through photos and videos. Some of those leaders included female peace-makers, sports coaches and a traditional chief. Also featured were some of the young generations pushing to break the mold of traditional women’s roles, including a female boda-boda driver and a law student who refused child marriage in order to pursue her studies.

“We want to take this campaign to the corners of South Sudan and make sure the voices of women in all parts of the country are listened to,” said Riya William Yuyada during the launch.  “This can be an exciting democratic exercise. Let us come back in November with a Transitional Government of National Unity government made up of 35 percent women, and ready to engage with the hopes and ideas expressed by women across the country.”

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