March 12, 2013 (JUBA)- The south-ruling party (SPLM) is the only political entity that has given women an equal opportunity to participate in the process of building the new nation, a party official said Tuesday.
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Mark Nyipouc, who heads the SPLM branch office in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state, said his party has increased women participation in politics, appointing them in various leadership positions.
“People say SPLM has not done this and that, but they do not say the good things which we have done as the ruling party. Even the media is not reporting fairly what the SPLM has done. All that [you] read in the media [are] negative criticisms about [the] performance of the SPLM,” Nyipouc told Sudan Tribune.
The official, during the interview, likened the good deeds of the south-ruling party to that of a wife, who does the bulk of the domestic work, yet not recognised.
“Even in your house, if you do not recognize and appreciate what your wife or a child does, you will have problems”, he stressed.
Gender activists in South Sudan have often expressed concerns over the inadequate numbers of women key leadership positions, despite calls for women empowerment from the current government.
The south ruling party has said it intends to increase the mandatory percentage of women in the party from 25% to 35% in order to empowering women so that in the future they will be able to compete with men on an equal basis.
The Deputy Speaker of South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly, Daniel Awet Akot told Sudan Tribune that the country had "formulated laws that promote and protect women rights".
"They have the right to hold senior positions in the government. Some of them are now ministers either at the national level or in the state," Akot said a day after South Sudan celebrated International Women’s day.
"The constitution gives them [women] the opportunity to serve in any position like men", he added.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement stated that 25% of women in the Government of South Sudan should be filled by women, although the SPLM struggled to fill this quota, largely due to low literacy rates especially among women.