Sudanese women like everyone else aspire towards achieving the commitments made at the Millennium Summit in 2000. What are the odds, for a country and a people in a complex conflict and post-conflict situation? The ethos of the Millennium Declaration and its emphasis on women’s rights, participation of all citizens, gender equality and peace, profoundly captures the reality for women and their families in Sudan. Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Sudan demands creative and extra-ordinary measures centered on women’s leadership, reducing gender inequalities in all governance, service provision, and resource management while fostering strategic partnerships. Sudan is a country of multiple realities for its communities. Sudanese women and people are continuing to smile with one eye, while crying with another eye. They are living between the joys and commitment to sustain the peace ushered by the CPA and crying in search of peace in the Darfurs!
South Sudan’s independence ends decades of conflict as well as socioeconomic and political marginalization at the hands of successive governments in Khartoum, which affected women in gender-specific ways. Independence thus opens up opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment, ensuring that the new country’s political and economic structures and institutions reflect commitments to women’s participation and human rights. In turn, empowering women will enable South Sudan to strengthen its economic and political
structures and institutions.
The Great Lakes region of Africa is faced by numerous problems ranging from military conflict and political instability to poverty, economic uncertainty, social upheavals and tensions, disease and gender inequality. These problems exist within a context of global advances in science and technology. Although some of these challenges are a consequence of globalization and unequal trade relations, colonial subjugation and ethnicity, others may be blamed on culture.
Several leading development agencies had posited education and equity as key themes at the onset of the 21st century. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No.2 “Achieve Universal Primary Education” and MDG No.3 “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women” are devoted to educational attainment and equity on a global level. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (Sherman & Poirier 2007) recently published a book that compares education equity among 16 of the world’s largest countries. Although the focus of this UNESCO volume was limited—using access to formal schooling and allocated resources to education as operational definitions of equity in the case countries the selection of this topic by UNESCO emphasizes the urgency of education inequality analysis by and for educators, researchers, and policy makers. The World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) features a global development issue thought to be especially timely.
Women account for over 60% of the population in South Sudan. This is not a force of nature but a direct result of over 39 years of conflict since Sudan’s Independence. Years of conflict has not only deprived women of their dependents – husbands and sons, but the disturbing and conventional post-war society coupled with discriminatory cultural traditions and abject poverty undermines the promotion of equal rights and the ability for women to actively participate in the development of the new nation. Over 90% of women in South Sudan are illiterate, and 50% of girls under the age of 18 are married which contributes to the high rate of maternal mortality in the country which is still thought to be the highest in the world. While the number of girls enrolled in school has increased over the last few years since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, the percentage of girls at school compared to boys lingers at around 37%. This number severely declines for education past primary school level. Gender based violence is a reality for many women, and abortion is illegal even when a woman has been raped. The Rule of law is largely in existent and the majority of cases are dealt with using customary law which inevitably discriminate women and the minorities.
One of the most far-reaching effects of Apartheid was the role it played in generating extreme economic inequality between race groups in South Africa. Not only does South Africa have among the highest levels of income inequality in the world, but this inequality is strongly racial in nature.As Figure 1 shows, the gap between white and black incomes just prior to the first democratic elections was substantial, with average real earnings of whites being more than five times that of blacks. Equally influential was the social engineering via race and language that occurred in the sphere of public education, with the introduction of the Bantu Education Act of 1954, which sought to prescribe differential access to education based on race.
This paper provides an overview of the educational situation in South Africa a decade after the political transition, with the focus on its economic dimensions. This overview often draws on the author’s own previous work, with the empirical contribution con-fined to a production function analysis of educational outcomes.
An important question is whether changes since the transition have substantially ameliorated the role of race in education. As comparative inter-temporal data are scarce, this paper thus analyses recent educational outcomes to show that race, and the race-based former school systems, still remain the most pervasive determinants of educational outcomes.
This document is for anyone who is working to transform and develop South Africa, but particularly for policy makers and trainers. It is the Commission on Gender Equality’s (CGE) first attempt to formulate a framework which the commission believes we need to be working within if we are to promote and protect gender equality, as the Constitution demands. Whether you are familiar with the theories and practices of gender equality or completely new to them, this document will be useful to you. If you are involved in funding, policy-making, training, research or on-the-ground projects, it will help you make sure that you take women’s particular needs into account and that women and men are equal beneficiaries of your work. This document aims to provide information and to get you thinking. The CGE hopes it will get you talking too.
Universally, early marriage is commonly classified as union formations by children under the age of 18 (“UNICEF”, 2005).It is a practice which affects mostly girls in developing countries. One of the latest reports by UNFPA (2012) states that; in 2010, there were over 67 million women between ages 20 and 24 who had been married before 18 in developing countries (excluding China). Moreover, in the same report it is projected that, if the present situation continues, more than 14 million girls under the age of 18 will become married each year within the next decade. While Asia and Africa are the two continents where the practice is most common, it is also possible to witness early marriage victims in almost every developing country around the world. Ethiopia is one of the 41 countries where early marriage had been experienced by more than 30% of women who were between 20 and 24 years old in 2011 (“UNFPA”, 2012, pp.23).
Ethiopia’s constitution and national policies are consistent with international legal instruments on gender equality, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform of Action, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Ethiopian constitution (Box 3.1) guarantees the rights of women as equal to those of men in all spheres including equality in marriage, the right to equal employment, and rights to maternity leave with pay, the right to acquire, administer, control, use and transfer property, with emphasis on land and inheritance issues and the right to access family planning and education. Ethiopia is therefore making several efforts to strengthen national structures for achieving gender parity.