Implementing Gender Quotas: Spotlight on Sudan
Sudan's Women's Movement
Women in Politics
Quotas 101
Sudan's Women's Movement
Women in Sudan's Peace Building Process
Sudan's 2008 Electoral Law
Implications of the Electoral Law
Implementing Quotas
What Can We Expect in Sudan?
Lessons Learned From Other Countries

Women in Sudan: a Historical Background


The call for implementing gender quotas was the cumulative result of both international pressure and an organic women’s movement within Sudan. 


Sudan’s Women’s Movement[1]


The first women’s organization in Sudan was the Women’s Association (or League), founded in 1947. Their objective was to mobilize educated women, to advocate for women’s education, and providing health and women’s health classes. About the same time, in 1948 a teacher’s association was established to focus on issues specific to women teachers, calling for equal rights such as equal pay with male teachers. In 1952, the Sudaenese Women’s Union (SWU) was founded to bring Sudanese women into politics through educational, cultural and social activities. A few years later, the women’s monthly magazine, Women’s Voice was founded in 1955 with a circulation of about 3,000 copies in the mid 1950s. By the mid-1950s, women’s groups were gaining membership, as more women became involved in the anti-colonial, nationalist movements.[2]


It was during the short cycles of democracy since independence (January 1, 1956 from Egypt and the United Kingdom) that Sudanese women made great strides in realizing great achievements connected with their social and economic rights. However, these achievements suffered a considerable setback after the introduction of Sharia law (Islamic Law).

Sharia Law and Women

 How has the implementation of Sharia Law in Sudan made it difficult for women to participate in politics?


[1] Elzobier, Ahmed (2008). “The Skeletons in our Cupboard and the Women’s Quota System in Sudan.” Sudan Tribune. March 8, 2009.


[2] Niblock, Tim (1987). The Dynamics of Sudanese Politics 1898-1985: Class & Power in Sudan. State University of New York Press: New York.