8th August 2020
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Abandon cultural norms that dis-empower women, girls – justice

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Friday, March 6, 2020

Justice Ajonya Perpetua | Credit | Woja Emmanuel | Eye Radio.

Cultural norms that undermine the rights of women and girls should be abandoned to empower women to achieve their goals, a judgehas said.

According to the 2011 Transitional Constitution, as amended, women shall be accorded full and equal dignity of the person with men.

But according to human rights activists, women in South Sudan have a long way to go in attaining equality.

The Constitution also stipulates that women shall have the right to participate equally with men in public life.

However, women in South Sudan are complaining that they often face inequality, inadequate access to education and health care, among others.

This inequality has gained national attention and people have become more interested in the issue of child marriage that young girls face.

Many women and girls in the country are not provided the opportunity to go to school so they can stay at home and help their families, according to reports. As a result, they are the most illiterate group in the country.

According to Girls’ Education South Sudan, women’s and girls’ education indicators are the worst in the world.

Only 16 percent of the female population over 15 is literate, compared to 40 percent for male.

Many of these women are married off rather than attending school and becoming educated, according to the report.

They said women in the country have been robbed of their rights. Citing under-representation in government portfolios, and other forms of empowerment.

“We have suffered as women in the history and that attitude which was created by culture and history and tradition is what we suffer everywhere,” says Justice Ajonya Perpetua, first female judge in South Sudan and the acting secretary-general of the South Sudan Law Society.

Women activists have on several occasions called on leaders to respect and abide by the revitalized peace agreement which gives women 35 percent representation.

This according to the activists, will give them more opportunity to stand for their rights to end cases of rape, sexual harassment, and disrespect of women across the country.

“You find even at my age, a young boy of 20-something will look and feel that he is much better in the profession than myself,” she added.

“We should encourage more women for us to achieve equality, which means more education for the girl child.”

The September 2018 revitalized peace agreement tasks the incumbent government to appoint not fewer than six women to ministerial positions; not fewer than three women in SPLM-IO, and SSOA must appoint no less than one woman.

The presidency is yet to announce the cabinet of the unity government.

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