On March 27-28, the Embassy of Canada in Khartoum organized a conference entitled: “Young Women and Good Governance: Opportunities and Challenges,” in partnership with Sudanese NGO partner Bridges International.
Representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health, Parliament, universities, civil society and the diplomatic corps participated in the Khartoum event.
The conference was chaired in part by Ms. Farah Mohamed, President of The Belinda Stronach Foundation (TBSF), a Canadian foundation dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls around the world.
The first day of the conference included a symposium focused on the unique challenges facing Sudanese women across a range of sectors. On the second day, over fifty students performed a community assessment of priorities, challenges and expectations of young women in Sudan, following which students made recommendations on how to empower girls and women in Sudan.
While a large number of priorities were listed, the highest priorities were:
Many challenges were discussed regarding legal equality between the sexes, awareness of women’s rights, competing social pressures, and, more generally, the status of women in Sudanese society.
Recommendations from this conference included: involving a larger number of females in decision-making, increasing awareness of health issues facing women, integrating boys and girls at the primary school level using the same curriculum, and encouraging and training women to become involved in community development.
This conference provided a valuable forum for community leaders to discuss critical issues. The next step for the women of Sudan will involve working towards these goals through advocacy, policy and programming.
Submitted by: Sohrab Farid, Canadian diplomat, Khartoum, Sudan