Intelligent CXO Issue 13 | Page 55




Equal rights for women and girls is a shared struggle across the world . In South Sudan , the gender gap has been exacerbated by conflict , a patriarchal culture and age-old customs that marginalise women ’ s rights .

While efforts have been made to ensure women and men are on an equal footing in all walks of life , much remains to be done .
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan ( UNMISS ), in partnership with the South Sudan Peace Monitoring and Advocacy Group , recently hosted a training for 55 women parliamentarians , civil society activists and business owners on the need for gender responsive governance .
The forum saw free and frank discussions .
“ As women , we often identify ourselves by our father ’ s name or our husband ’ s name . We should be proud of our own identity and work hard to build it ,” said Diako Pauline , a newly appointed member of Western Equatoria ’ s State Legislative Assembly . “ I am very grateful for this training . I am a new Member of Parliament , and I have much to learn . The leadership lessons I have learnt here are invaluable .”
For Hanan Idia Elias , an advocacy officer from a non-governmental organisation in Yambio , the takeaway is simple : Women can do anything they set their minds on .
“ This training has taught me how women can compete with men and be equally effective leaders . It ’ s a question of being creative and committed to the communities we serve .
" There is no reason we shouldn ’ t be involved in making decisions that impact the future of our country ,” Elias added .
Women are powerful agents of change and can usher in the far-reaching benefits of diversity and gender parity if they are involved in decision making .
“ Women make up 50 % of South Sudan ’ s population ,” said Theresa Siricio , one of the workshop ’ s facilitators and member of the South Sudan Peace Monitoring and Advocacy Group . “ The voices , opinions and needs of half a society can never be ignored . So , my advice to all of you is : Be fearless , speak up and speak out about the issues that impact you directly .”
“ We are here to help women and girls in South Sudan build a gender-equal future ,” added Patricia Njoroge , a Gender Affairs Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission .
“ We will continue building capacities among women and girls , especially , as the country moves towards eventual elections .” x www . intelligentcxo . com