Sudan (MNN) — Much is changing in Sudan, and women play an important role in the transition.
Some estimates say women made up two-thirds of the protest movement that ousted President Bashir last spring. Sudan’s transitional government appointed the first female chief justice in the Arab world in October, and the draft constitution requires a 40-percent quota of women in future hires.
“Women are really excited to play a greater role in the new Sudan… they are working towards achieving that with encouragement and help [from] the wider community,” says a Gospel worker we’ll simply call “Ida.” She serves in a significant leadership position within Sudan.
“Women have really stood up and they have started [taking] their first step. They’re making good progress; moving ahead and taking up roles, and fighting for their rights.”
Strength to endure; hope to overcome
Women suffered immensely under Sudan’s former regime. A strict public order, removed last fall, dictated women’s appearance and behavior. Christian women experience even more oppression as “double minorities.”
For example, “female Christians…are forced to dress like Muslims. Those arrested for ‘indecent dressing’ often face groping and humiliation during interrogation,” World Watch Monitor reports. Women can be jailed for breaking Sudan’s strict sharia law, the Barnabus Fund adds.
Furthermore, “as a result of decades of wars, women have lost their husbands. That’s why the number of women taking responsibilities of the families has increased immensely and is even more than 90-percent participating in the church activities,” Ida adds.
While difficult circumstances force many Sudanese women to lead their families, law and society prevent them from leading anything else.
Nonetheless, change is coming. Ida encourages little girls growing up in the “new” Sudan to remain hopeful.
“Learn from the women who have inspired many others… stand for their rights… live without fears, without discrimination,” she says.
How to help
Unfortunately, change is progressing slowly within most church walls. “There [is] a lot of difficulty for women taking roles in the churches,” Ida says. Ask the Lord to remove barriers, and pray that He will encourage and strengthen Sudanese Christian women.
Pray also for sustainable aid. “Training and teaching… microloans and income-generating projects… [would] help them be self-supported and could make their life easier, despite challenges,” Ida says.
Header image courtesy Prayercast | Sudan.