On Tuesday 10th March 2020, over one thousand people gathered to celebrate the launch of the International Women’s Day 2020 in South Sudan under the theme “Generational Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. #Each for Equal#. The attendees represented various institutions including secondary school students, church leaders, uniformed personnel, national and international organizations, UN Agencies, Embassies, civil society organizations, women led organizations and youth led organizations.
This year’s International Women’s day celebration was a remarkable one filled with so much joy and excitement. It commenced with a musical procession, then graced by traditional dances from the Chollo community, drama, poems and a myriad of other performance, Women, men, boys and girls jubilated and danced.
A renewed sense of hope for a peaceful South Sudan was in the air.
In his keynote remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Alain Noudehou emphasized the need to ensure that women are at the place of decision making and the need for governments and the partners to support women’s equal participation in public and private life. “If we want to have more participation of women, we need to have in our policies provisions that give families affordable childcare services.” He also reaffirmed the United Nations commitment to “support South Sudan and the women of South Sudan in their search for a more gender equal society.” In her keynote remarks, the Guest honor, the Former minister of Gender Child and Social Welfare who is also the Acting Secretary General of the SPLM/A Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba urged the women to work hand in hand with her to achieve the implementation of the 35% in all sectors of the government. She congratulated the women of South Sudan for having for the first time in the history of South Sudan having the first female Vice-President.
She recognized the hard work of women in Government, civil society organizations and other political parties for lobbying for the representation of women and their participation in the peace negotiations which resulted to the achievement of the 35%.
Willma Anthony Gordon a representative from Initiative for Peace Communication Association (IPCA) a South Sudanese National organization that focuses on Women’s protection and empowerment, Child Protection and Education, peace building and conflict mitigation stated that “For us to implement the 35% Affirmative Action we need to send our daughters to school”. Willma encouraged young girls to choose school and make their dreams become a reality, while parents implored to stop marrying off their underage daughters but rather give them a chance to get education, “I want you to know my dear sisters that you’re able and capable of doing everything that a man can do”.
A pre-launch press conference was held by the National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, a panel discussion also took place hosted by the South Sudan National Television (SSBC) ahead of the launch event.
The national launch event was followed by various events here in Juba and across the country. These included a Panel Discussion on the 35% affirmative action organized by the UN Country team, an Inter-Secondary School Sports activity and a UN Women and UNDP hosted symposium on generation equality. Other national NGOs, INGOs and embassies also hosted individual events celebrating the efforts and achievements of women in South Sudan. “We all have a role to play in this search for gender equality, the International Women’s Day National theme for South Sudan, #Each for equal: Implement the 35% Affirmative Action for Peace and Development emphasizes the need for women’s representation and participation at all levels for the promotion of sustainable peace and development in the country”. Paulina Chiwangu, UN Women south Sudan’s Deputy Country Representative, OIC stated in her remarks during the IWD symposium.