Celebrating Women in South Sudan

Internews partner in South Sudan, Eye Radio dedicated a week of programming to women – featuring stories about inspiring women and producing programming that contributes to women’s welfare and equality in South Sudan – in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8.

Eye Radio interviewed activists, parliamentarians and diplomats throughout the week including female role models from South Sudan and ambassadors from the US, UK and EU. During the coverage, guests highlighted the plight of women in South Sudan in terms of health, sexual and gender-based violence, and social and economic development. They also reiterated their call for gender inclusivity in decision-making at all levels.

In Mingkaman, the local radio station aired a live talk show featuring women’s leader, Veronica Yar, who underscored the importance of women in decision-making yet noted that they are denied full participation in nation building. She reinforced the need for women across the country to advocate for their rights at the grassroot level, citing cultural barriers, which hinder women’s opportunity to use their voice. A listener called into the station and urged community leaders to revise customary laws that negatively affect women.

Three women sit around a table with microphones
An Akol Yam presenter hosts a live discussion with women in the community ahead of International Women’s Day. Credit: Internews

The Abyei Information & Radio Service interviewed Rejina Akoy, a business woman whose struggle embodies the theme of IWD this year. Rejina is a fuel seller, working in a male-dominated industry where fuel is often smuggled from Sudan. Rejina started her business in 2013. She says she’ll always overcome gender inequality and believes in gender balance for the wellbeing of men and women. “A fuel supplier was shocked seeing me queuing up with men to buy diesel,” she said. “I told him that out of Bahr El Ghazal women I mastered this business very well.”

A woman and a man stand next to a fuel tank
During International Women’s Day in Aniet Market, Abyei Information & Radio Service reporter interviews Rejina, a fuel seller. Credit: AIRS

“Women in Bentiu are joining the rest of the world to recognize the importance of women’s rights,” said Northern Liech state Deputy Governor, Laraka Machar Turoal, at an local Bentiu event celebrating IWD. “This should be a sign that things are changing for better. To show our commitment, we now have a woman for the position of Town Mayor in Bentiu. It had never happened before.”

In Malakal, Nile FM covered the IWD event there live. Attendees shared their feedback emphasizing the need for women to be provided with educational opportunities. “The community should work hard on how to stop early marriage so that we can have more educated women, so they can compete with a man either in the community or government,” said Aliza Ngor, a Malakal Town resident.

Read the full report on International Women’s Day in South Sudan.

Internews’ programs in South Sudan are supported by the United States Agency for International Development.