Implementing Gender Quotas: Spotlight on Sudan
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Implementing Quotas
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Lessons Learned From Other Countries

Women’s involvement in politics is vital for women’s empowerment. Gender quotas provide women special provisions to facilitate their participation in politics. Implemented in over a hundred countries, quotas are seen as an important determinant of women’s representation in developing democracies. Through their participation, women are able to represent women’s issues in decision-making bodies, while addressing societal-wide issues. In many circumstances, the presence of women in politics has decreased corruption and clientelism. Most importantly because women are critical to peace building efforts in post-conflict states, their involvement in politics is critical.

Fragmented from years of bitter civil war, Sudan is one of the most recent countries to legally mandate the implementation of quotas into its electoral system.  If Sudan succeeds in executing a free and fair election in 2010, it may serve as an example for other states in the region to follow. Therefore, Sudan’s upcoming elections, and their implementation of gender quotas are a timely and significant case study to explore.

Women face several challenges in Sudan. They face cultural barriers that discourage women’s access to politics, legal barriers that have prohibited women’s involvement in the public sphere, gender inequalities that remain codified in laws like the 1991 penal code, and institutional barriers such as electoral systems that discriminate against minority interest groups, and limited access to education.

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While the quota system implemented in Sudan will guarantee a minimum number of women in politics, implementing quotas is not enough. Quotas are simply a starting point.

This website offers a resource for information on quotas, examines the merits of the type of system that Sudan implemented and charts the challenges that lay ahead for women.

This website was created by Mehreen Farooq and the does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Muslim Women’s Coalition.