South Sudan’s second lady urges women to push for affirmative action

March 6, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s second lady has urged women in the new country to push for more representation in government to increase their participation in decision-making processes.

JPEG - 50.5 kbSouth Sudan’s second lady, Madam Angelina Teny, addressing the international women’s day in Juba, March 6, 2013 (ST)

Angelina Teny, the wife of the country’s vice-president, Riek Machar Teny, made the comments on Wednesday while addressing an event marking international women’s day in Juba, organised by the South Sudan’s ruling party.

Senior women leaders from the SPLM participated in the event which was held under the theme: “Celebrating achievement of South Sudan women”.

The second lady challenged women in the ten states of the country to organise themselves in order to effectively contribute to the decision-making processes in the 19-month-year-old nation.

She argued that the next target for women in South Sudan should be 50% affirmative action in public offices as well as in the civil service jobs as females constitute 60% of the country’s population, a statement which women received with applauds and ululations.

Teny called on women to lobby for them to make up a larger percentage among SPLM decision makers in the party’s next constitution, which is currently under review.

The SPLM ruling party has since 2005 given women 25% of government positions, this was increased to 30% in recent years but this target has not been reached partly due to lack of capacity as more men are educated than women in South Sudan, which is an illiteracy rate of over 70%.

The target of 50% representation for women would be a challenge to force the country to develop the potential of women through compulsory girl’s education in order to gradually catch up with men, party officials say. Many girl’s do not finish their education due to early marriage and often having to work at an earlier age than boys.

Teny also challenged women to establish an effective women’s league, recalling that the late leader, John Garang, in Yei, called for the formation of a women’s league of the SPLM, which would have provided space for their voices to be heard.

Women leaders are imposed on women by men who appoint them to represent women instead of them choosing their own leaders, she further argued.

Teny also called on South Sudanese women to groom young talented ladies so that they can take up the challenge and transform women in public life.

She further urged women to also work in business and the private sector so as to become self-reliant and a driving force in the country’s economy.

The second lady also urged for the participation of women in the national reconciliation process in the country, adding that women should bring up children to become nationalists and also appreciate South Sudan’s diverse cultures and values.

In 2010 Teny narrowly lost her bid to become Unity State Governor loosing to incumbent Taban Deng Gai. Teny stood as an independent after Gai was chosen to as the SPLM’s official candidate.

Out of South Sudan’s ten states only Warrap has a women governor, Nyandeng Malek Deliech.

Among the SPLM figures who delivered speeches at the event were the vice president and deputy chairperson of the party, Riek Machar Teny, the speaker of parliament and deputy chairperson, James Wani Igga and the party’s secretary general Pagan Amum.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45735

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