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Issues of Women Representation in the ULDP

Issues of Women Representation in the ULDP
(Paper prepared for the ALN Gender Workshop, Tunis, July-August 2010)

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Udlp gender-representzation Udlp gender-representzation Presentation Transcript

  • Issues of Women Representation in the ULDP The Gender Office United Democratic Liberal Party, Sudan Paper prepared for the Gender Workshop organized by ALN Tunis, July-August 2010
  • Introduction:
    • The ULDP tackles the Gender Issue with absolute priority in its political, public and intellectual activities. Women representation in the party’s leadership as well as in its organizational structure is an important part of its Gender Policy. In fact, the UDLP is the only Sudanese party which has made the issue of Gender Equity one of the most important objectives of its constitution and constituency.
  • Historical Background:
    • The roots of the United Democratic Liberal Party go back to 4/9/2008, when four of democratic and liberal organizations unified. These are: Sudan Liberal Party (SLP), The New Democratic Forces movement- United Leadership (HAQ- UL), Sudanese Democratic Party (SDP) and the Sudanese Democratic Movement(SDM).
    • These organizations have played a magnificent role in the struggle of feminist and liberal movements within the last ten years in Sudan. Prominent women activists and individuals known for their high gender sensitivity are the co-founders of UDLP. The founding parties of UDLP also had a good record regarding women representation in their structures.
    • The Sudan Liberal Party, for example, which was founded in 2003, gave the issue of Gender Equity a paramount importance in its activities and leadership practices. The majority of the leading positions in the Executive Committee of the SLP in the period between the First Congress (December 06) and its Second Congress (August 07) were filled by women, including the Chairwoman, the Secretary General, the Secretary of Administration and Organization and the Secretary of Finance. While between the Second and the Third Congress (August 07 -December 08), women held the posts of the Party Chairwoman, Deputy Secretary-General and the Official Spokesperson, among others.
    Sudan Liberal Party Legacy:
  • HAQ – United Leadership legacy: The New Democratic Forces Movement- United Leadership (HAQ- UL), which was established in early 2006, was founded by under wide range contribution of women, youth and students. Women Leaders of the HAQ- UL played an important role in improving the intellectual gender concepts of the movement, which have later been adopted by the UDLP.
  • Women representation in the ULDP leadership:
    • The United Democratic Liberal Party is built on this great common inheritance of its founding entities. It has stated in its constituent documents the need for representation of women by at least one third - 33% - in both frameworks of leadership, specifically in the Political Council and the Executive Committee.
  • Women representation in the basic level:
    • It has also stipulated that the membership of women should be one third in each subsidiary body of the party for it to be officially established and recognized. Discussions are taking place in the party now before the General Congress to increase women representation to 50% in leading institutions and 40% in branches and basic bodies.
  • The Chairwoman: Nour Tawir Kafi:
    • At the moment, women occupy important positions on the party leadership. The chairwoman of UDLP is Mrs. Nour Tawir Kafi, a long time feminist and civilian activist veteran known since her activities in highschool. Woman are also leading many of the Executive Offices of the party.
  • Women in Executive Offices:
    • Woman are also leading many of the Executive Offices of the party. For example, Dr. Mayada Abdellah is responsible for the work of doctors and professionals. Ms. Awatif Abdo is the head of the Social Activities Office. Ms. Iman Al-tigani is responsible for the Training Unit of the UDLP. Ms. Zahra Hayder was the leader of the Political Bureau of the party for several months after its establishment.
  • Local & Overseas Branches
    • At the level of local branches and overseas branches of the UDLP, women occupy many positions of the party leadership. Women are leading the party in such major cities of Sudan as Kosti, Al-oubied and Kadugli. Women are also represented in the leadership of some of the party’s branches abroad, where a large number of Sudanese communities are settling. These include branches in Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Nahla Bashir Adam:
    • A woman is the leader of the party’s youth movement: Ms. Nahla Bashir Adam, chairwoman of the Democratic Youth Movement, who is, to our great dismay and outrage, currently in detention and needs solidarity from her liberal family in Africa
  • The Gender Office:
    • The party has rejected the idea to establish a separate sector or organization for women, since women are active participants in all activities of the party. Hence, the UDLP has approved the establishment of the Gender Office to work within the Executive Committee, with a primary mission to increase the party’s sensitivity towards gender issues.
  • Objectives of the GO :
    • One of the main objectives of that Gender Office, as its has been stated in its Establishing Document, is to: “ ensure the proper functioning of the organs of the party through the presence of the Gender Focal Points, to monitor the performance of the UDLP to address issues related to women. This monitoring would be carried out at the level of UDLP discourse, media actions, or in its political line or economic program. Furthermore, women issues should be considered at the organizational level and procedures .”
  • Short-Comings:
    • However, the Gender Office has reported that there is still unequal gender representation in many internal and external branches of the party. Many constituencies of the UDLP ignore the commitment to the 33% constitutional representation of women. There is also atrophy in the proportion of women from working classes in the membership and leadership of the party. Furthermore, there is also a weakness in the proportion of women membership from southern Sudan, Eastern Sudan and from Darfur Provinces.
  • Detailed Statistics:
    • Specific and more details and statistics about the proportion of women representation in UDLP are under preparation. These statistics will include the representation of women in upper, middle and lower segments of the party leadership and constituencies. The statistics will be discussed on the up-coming General Congress of the party. A quota of 50% representations of women in all party institutions will be suggested to the congress, and will most likely be approved.
  • Challenges and Problems:
    • The Gender Office of the UDLP is aware of the conditions and challenges standing against the full gender equity in the UDLP and Sudanese society. This is mainly due to lack of proper understanding of the liberal ideas, and the lack of awareness among women about their own rights and role.
  • Other Challenges & Problems:
    • We also face security challenges by the state, which is pressuring party members, by methods ranging from arrest and detentions over threat to many other methods of intimidation. These actions prevent many women (and men) from joining the UDLP. Our party also lacks experience and efficiency in work, due to the weak training of its cadres. We hope that ALN party members and leadership would assist us in this regard.
  • Expectations and Suggestions:
    • We propose to the ALN the idea of establishing an Observatory Centre to follow up what is going on in all African countries in relation to issues of gender. We believe ALN ALN has to deliberate also on the UN resolution to establish an agency for women. We expect great participation from ALN and LI members' side to make this resolution a reality.
  • Follow-Up Mechanisms:
    • We have also to discuss in this workshop how to find effective follow-up mechanisms to follow and evaluate what has been agreed upon
  • More details and Contact:
    • For more details about the UDLP Gender policy please contact:
    Wala Husien Mobile Phone : + 249 922-683-691 E-mail: [email_address] Awatif Abdu: Mobile Phone : + 249 912-255-420 E-mail: [email_address]