This year at IPCA we celebrated International Women’s Day under the theme “Generational Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.” #Each for Equal# – “An equal world is an enabled world”. On March 10, 2020 IPCA supported the celebration of International Women’s Day in Mundri County, alongside the UN, the government of South Sudan, and other national and international NGOs, to recognize and value the contribution of women to peace, stability and a prosperous society.
2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security that recognizes the importance of women’s role in peacebuilding. It is therefore an especially important day for IPCA and for our work on women’s empowerment and peacebuilding in South Sudan.
Throughout the peace process in South Sudan, women have been key leaders within the peace process, and their participation has helped to reduce violence, raise awareness of sexual and gender-based violence, and create a more sustainable peace. The Women’s Bloc of South Sudan—a network of civil society leaders— were formal observers and signatories of the 2015 agreement and members of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission who tracked implementation of the agreement, and in 2018, women made up 25% of the negotiators for the renewed peace agreement (R-ARCSS) in South Sudan. Their participation and advocacy led to the successful implementation of a quota within the agreement for 35% participation of women within the transitional government.
At IPCA, we are focused on the power of education to ensure equality and the empowerment of women across South Sudanese society. At the International Women’s Day event, our Peacebuilding Officer, Willma Anthony Gordon, led a discussion about girls’ empowerment and education. “For us to implement the 35% Affirmative Action we need to send our daughters to school”. Willma encouraged young girls to choose school and make their dreams become a reality, and implored parents to stop marrying off their underage daughters but rather give them a chance to get education, “I want you to know my dear sisters that you’re able and capable of doing everything that a man can do”.