Sudanese Women Want Equal Representation Post Bashir

In the crowded streets of Khartoum, an even more indelible shift is taking place: Women, who were deprived by Bashir of freedoms afforded to men, are demanding equality. From the stages at the center of a massive sit-in here to the tea stalls that dot its periphery, women addressed the new military government and the organizers of the protests, who are almost all men, saying: You will not overlook us. “We cannot get our freedom unless we are essential parts of the new government, not in soft positions in which decisions are not made.” Under Bashir, a quarter of parliamentary seats were reserved for women, who were mostly stand-ins for their husbands, many political analysts said. Laws in Sudan compel women to get a male relative’s approval to marry or divorce and govern how they can dress. Bashir’s interpretation of Islamic law was more lenient than, say, that of Saudi Arabia, where women have only recently been allowed to drive on their own. But Sudanese society is deeply conservative, and in addition to discriminatory laws, powerful societal roles such as judge or minister are entirely closed off to women.


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