Sudanese Women Step Up as Peacekeepers Among Ongoing Conflict in Country

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy: Brookings Institution

The ongoing conflict in Sudan has led a group of Sudanese women to step up in peacebuilding efforts.

On April 15, soldiers from Sudan’s national army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militants rocked Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, leading to a spread of fighting that quickly escalated throughout the country. Following the attacks, reports have found that many of the country’s most vulnerable included women and girls. Hundreds of mothers have been left to carry their children across state lines with little food and water and the rise of gender-based violence has begun to take place due to social and economic circumstances.

“Women in central and northern Khartoum are facing the horrific reality of sexual violence at the hands of the RSF. Families are trapped in their once safe homes, now at the mercy of men with machine guns, leaving women and girls particularly vulnerable to assault,” reads a ReliefWeb report. “The situation is made worse by the fact that the majority of hospitals in Khartoum state are either bombed, damaged, or understaffed, leaving survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as pregnant mothers, at great risk. Despite the frequency of these heinous crimes, rape remains heavily under-reported due to the stigma and shame attached to it, leaving the silent cries of victims unheard.”

It has led to a calamitous economic situation in Sudan, specifically for women who work mostly blue-collar jobs as food sellers and petty traders on the streets of Khartoum. Furthermore, many women in the city are the breadwinners in their households so they must continue to work on the dangerous streets where the war has continued to become a new way of life.

Despite this, Sudanese women have begun to play an instrumental role against military rule. Using their leadership capabilities, they have participated in peacebuilding efforts and have found new ways to build sustainable peace.

“Feminists in Sudan are already mobilizing for peace and an end to the ongoing war. One such initiative is Feminists for Peace, which arrived before all political parties,” the report says. “A feminist approach to peacebuilding in Sudan must prioritize the experiences and perspectives of women, who have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. However, before articulating that approach, it is crucial to address the contradictions within the women’s movement. The movement is divided based on intergenerational conflicts, differing ideologies, and the most dangerous division, between feminists who challenge power dynamics in Sudan and those who serve the interests of patriarchal political parties and receive personal rewards.”

Related Posts

Crown App