South Sudan youth ask communities to embrace gender equality

South Sudan youth ask communities to embrace gender equality
Women demonstrate and advocate for the removal of Peter Mayen Majongdit (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie)

While the residents of Juba’s Mangateen internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp applaud the ongoing series of campaigns on gender equality, the youth are asking the communities to eliminate gender stereotypes and embrace equality across different walks of life in the country.

This comes during a door-to-door sensitization drive on gender equality conducted by the Active Citizen South Sudan (ACSS) in Mangateen residential area of Central Equatoria state. The drive also covered Munuki, Mia Saba, Eden and New sites areas respectively.

Angelina Stephen Ban, the Project Coordinator for the organization said gender inequalities were serious concerns and it was high time for the communities to get rid of them.

“We all know that our communities are still finding it hard to cope-up with gender inequality especially when we talk about the rights of women and girls,” she said.

In 2021, South Sudanese women asked the government to address issues surrounding gender-based violence.

According to the women group, they have continued to endure abuses in silence, and with limited opportunities to speak out on such crimes.

According to the advocate, it was high time to embark on ethical practices that support gender equality, noting that creating awareness against biases was the only way forward to achieve gender parity.

“For instance, we decided to take this initiative just to create awareness about the importance of gender equality, highlighting the community’s role in building gender equal societies,” she concluded.

She notes that there was a need to treat both males and females fairly. At least 6,700 people were sensitized during the outreach program. These include parents, youth and community leaderships respectively.

The campaign dubbed “let’s embrace each other” was funded by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to fix the gender gap.

Mary Nyawich added: “We didn’t absolutely know that girls and women also deserve the same rights as our men.  We thought men were final people when it comes to decision making or anything in the family,” she explained.

The campaign also covered the Bill of Rights and other provisions that talk about equality while highlighting the rights of the citizens.

These include the right to education, the rights to parental guidance, as well as rights to own properties among others.

Following decades of conflict, since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, prolonged conflict, which included gender-based violence (GBV), exacerbated gender disparities have persisted, according to a 2013 assessment.