On Saturday, Working Women Association (WWA) presented a topic on working women in rural Sudan. Mainly the speakers were focusing on the activities of their organization that was established in 1991 with the aim "to improve vocational and intellectual competence of all working women in both public and private sectors". It is important to mention that WWA got an ECOSOC status in 2011; therefore, it was their first time presenting at CSW. Nevertheless, my overall impression was that their presentation was censored and controlled by the government.
First, because they were providing general statements like "we are promoting gender equality, improving conditions of women, organizing workshops, and seminars"; hence avoiding concrete information on how and what exactly they are doing and what is the real situation of working women in rural areas. Secondly, after they finished their presentation and asked for the comments a lady from Sudan, who introduced herself as a representative of the Ministry of Finance, took the stage and talked for about 10 minutes on how Sudan is doing great in improving conditions for working women. While she was very excited her colleagues from WWA seemed to be very serious and somehow sad.
Next, when another lady from the auditorium asked the panelists a question about their budget there was a minute of hesitation among the presenters, as they started to discuss the question in their own language with the lady from the Ministry of Finance, and their final answer was very unclear.
To conclude, the main message that was delivered by the WWA and Sudanese government is that they are doing great in empowering women. However, I really have a doubt if they represented a "real voice" of women in rural areas of Sudan.
A lady from Ministry of Finance is making her comments