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South Sudan Minister urges women to join politics

By Gladys Kole

South Sudan Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has urged young women to participate in politics in order to raise voices fort their challenges can be addressed.

Hon. Mary Nawai made the call during the launch of a project dubbed “Women’s Leadership and Political Participation during South Sudan’s Transitional Period” by UN Women and UNDP.

The minister was speaking as a presiding guest of honor at the function.

Acknowledging the already young parliamentarians in the transitional national legislative assembly, Nawai said partaking in politics is a fundamental right of every citizen, especially young women.

She noted that women’s participation in politics is a process of identifying and understanding the challenges they are facing in the country.

“Politics is where you raise your voice and share ideas to address challenges women and girls are normally facing in our community and country?” Nawai said.

Some of the challenges South Sudanese women are still facing include sexual gender-based violence and gender inequalities in employment.

The rate of girls’ enrollment in schools, early and forced marriages, insecurity, inadequate health care services, and poor infrastructure are other challenges women face in country.

The minister stressed that the involvement of women is very vital in promoting peace.

“When you lack clean water, security, infrastructure, and food, you don’t have peace, but with this in place, that means we have peace,” she explained.

Hon. Nawai commended on reluctance of women to participate in politics

“I have realized educated and qualified young women don’t want to engage in politics, but you have a full right to be a politician and raise your voice concerning what is going on in the country” she lamented.

She stressed that, women who don’t want to be in politics will remain behind, without any means to raise their voices.

Although appointments are based upon parties, Minister Nawai reiterated the significance for young women to join politics so to have stronger positions to advance women’s agenda.

“All of you cannot be selling “kudura” and Okra and expect to be in government positions. Join politics and encourage more women so that we see ourselves in those offices. Mary,” the minister urged.

Earlier this year, President Salva Kiir assured women leaders across Africa, that, South Sudan would address gender-based violence and abuses against women.

President Kiir while the International Conference on Women’s Transformational Leadership, said his government would address challenges facing women and implements the revitalized peace agreement.

The president noted that his government had increased the power-sharing ratio for women from 25% to 35% and encouraged women to compete with men for the remaining 65% fraction.

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