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Women lagging behind due to discriminatory cultural norms: activists

South Sudanese women are lagging behind their male counterparts due to discriminatory cultural norms, according to civil society activists.

“Despite achievements made women still face challenges, we are still being guided by these cultural norms which are negative towards women. Some women cannot join groups just because their husbands would not allow them to go out and sit with other women or even attend meetings,” Dorothy Drabuga, the Executive Director of Women Foundation for Humanity told journalists in Juba on Wednesday.

She was speaking during the celebration for International Women’s Day at Central Equatoria State Women Union Center.

“Some women even fear to join politics because if you are a woman and you stand before men to talk, they say this one is a prostitute,” Drabuga said.

 Drabuga added that the high rate of illiteracy among women has also disempowered their voices.

She called for the introduction of adult literacy education for women to empower them.

The International Women Day celebration was organized by Greater Equatorial Land Alliance with support from Norwegian People’s Aid. It was commemorated under the theme, “promote gender equality through technology towards better South Sudan.”

Doru Josephine Kenyi, the Program Officer for Women International Peace Center said that the existing patriarchal society in the country is disadvantageous to women.

“South Sudan as patriarchal society has so many cultural norms that are against women, the government should come in so that things can move forward for women,” Kenyi said.

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