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It’s the combination of religious fundamentalism and discriminatory laws

“Girls students are not allowed access to the university compos after 6 PM; men students are allowed access until mid night”
“Women students should NOT wear neither short sleeves shirts nor tight T-shirts they are only allowed to wear long sleeves or BIG shirts”
“Un-veiled women are denied access to schools and universities”
“Those faculties are ONLY for men”
The aforementioned quotations are just samples of many regulations at our schools\universities!
The story I am going to tell today is the story of all women experienced living under combination of religious fundamentalism groups reaches power, discriminatory laws and armed conflict.
The story I am telling today started four years before my birth in 1983 when Sharia laws was introduced for the first time in Sudan.
Let me first tell you a bit about myself and my parent:
I am the daughter of a land witnessed the longest war in Africa, I am the daughter of a land that one of the worst crimes against humanity committed on it, I am the daughter of the land that women would be lashed every day, they would be lashed for wearing trouser, or even simply hanged out with friends at night. Yes I am the daughter of this land, and guess what; I love this land! Isn’t this what people do, loving their parents whatever what they do!
in my country, women enrollment in formal education is relatively high; more than 60% of students in Sudan are women, however for me the question is not about how many girls enroll schools, rather is why are they enroll schools, why they need to be educated ?!
When we were at schools we had been taught that unveiled women will go to hell, women who don’t obey their husbands will go to hell, women are the source of seducing men and make them committing adultery, that’s why when God talked about adultery he mentioned women before men, women… women… women… women are the evil of this world!
I am recalling now my teacher repeating the famous Sudanese proverb:
“even if she studied law, her destiny is the kitchen”.
What our schools teach us is basically reflection of government’s ideologies, we can confirm this when look at the general status of women in Sudan, and the laws are in place in the country. Laws based on fundamental religious ideology, resulted in criminalization of any act aiming at empowering women, or trying to raise women participation in public life. The Sudanese criminal code for instance would consider women and men in an ordinary office practicing prostitution, the law says any place were woman and a man gather without blood relationship could be considered place of prostitution. Woman are the one to blame in such case she would go through very restrictive court process comparing by her fellow man.
Most women after they graduate from universities end-up as housewives, they end-up repeating the same proverb my teacher was repeating, they end-up with less appreciation to girls education and basically appreciate their years at schools and university because it’s a good way to find wealthy husband, poor men only marry uneducated women.
For me education is not only about classes or lessons, education should be meant to empower women and encourage them to fully participate in society to make women envision the future with optimism and belief in better world.
Reforming discriminatory laws, considering to the quality of education, carefully drafting massages which teachers are delivering, and before all granting freedom! This what paves the way for girls to harvest the fruits of their education.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

libudsuroy's picture

Thank you again, Walaa for

Thank you again, Walaa for sharing so much about your homeland. It is paradoxical, isn't it? Your love for a country that at times does not reciprocate simply because one is a woman. You have also shown how macro-changes can have their ripple effects in the lives of individual girls and women.Here's my wish that your people, especially your women, will experience a Sudanese Spring!

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Walaa Salah's picture

IT IS!

Thank you very much Libudsuroy for commenting on my post and before that for reading it.
I think its our obligation to share stories about our issues, we really need to think together and to also learn from other's experiences, maybe the "Spring" could be one of the lessons learned :). having said that we have such a great Sudanese women leaders in this country, those who really inispired us and gave us the energy to keep going and keep loving and ignoring the hate vibes around us.

With much of respect

Walaa

be the change

Walaa Salah

ola.mahadi's picture

well done walaa

We can make diffrence as long as we be able took deep and work on the root of the problem not just be amazed by figures and numbers of girls attending school.
Well written post
Keep up the good work
Ola

It is never too late to try make your way to your dream and left up your expectation.
Sudanes Women Building Peace
www.suwepmovement.org

Walaa Salah's picture

Thank you Ola

Thanks a lot Ola, yeah we should be happy with the stats but also analyze the results of the education system. its our role to push for development, resources are there ( human and financial) we should just keep digging and will reach our goal of society with justice.

lots of Love

Walaa

be the change

Walaa Salah

school teachers, mothers and university guards are desprate women who suffered from repression for their whole life, and they are widening the circle of repression by bringing girls in, we need to break this circle

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Walaa Salah's picture

repression of repressed

Thank you Yosra
It is indeed the repression of repressed people, this circle can be broken by include those people in our discussions and conversations. they should be part of the breaking process, it will be hard looking at the issues of long ignorant between the two views but it can be made ( as long as we keep it in the people level, I think the government level doesn't worth a try - at least currently - )

Cheers

be the change

Walaa Salah

Yosra Akasha's picture

Elitism Vs popular

I think what make us a little bit delayed in achiving our goals is putting elitism Vs popular level. The elites must lead the change process at the grassroots level and take the struggle from there.

Up

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Klaudia Mexico's picture

investing for the future

even if we don´t live under sharia law, we sometimes feel repressed for the culture, the violence or ourselves. I studied at Central European University and I'd classmates from countries living under religiuos fundamentalism. Many of them are not going back, but I can assure you all of them are working to change the realities of their countries. There will be a day, when you and them will reunite and enjoy the fruits of what you've invested.
Cheers
Klaudia

Klaudia González

Walaa Salah's picture

thats it!

Thank you very much Klaudia for your comment and sorry for the delayed response I have had internet issues

you have mentioned an important reality that we were always discussing among us in Sudan, when you oppress people you basically motivate them to leave their HOME! fundamentalism creates repellent atmosphere that send people out.

Thank you very much for highlighting this.

Cheers

be the change

Walaa Salah

Dear Walaa,

Thank-you for sharing your experiences - it really is an eye-opener. I wish you the very best in your endeavors to fight for what is right, and I hope you will continue to use WorldPulse as a platform to share and grow.

Best,

Gaurav Nakhare
WP Listener

Walaa Salah's picture

Thanks a lot

Dear Gaurav

Thanks indeed for your comment, its a challenging environment but I\we believe we shall overcome it, by consistent work on the ground, and more awareness about the issues facing women in our societies, thus I believe World Pulse is one of my important venues to raise awareness, share experience and even relief by telling about this overwhelming issues.

Kindest Regards

be the change

Walaa Salah

seunaboy's picture

its the same story here

hi walaa
i realised from your story that it is almost the same story, there are so many restrictions on women so much that fellow women who are older and have gone the same course tend to preach this course of life. i want to believe it is because they lose that will they had so they also tend to preach the same and end up killing dreams and aspirations

it hurts so much when your life is like a time-table that the public also have when you should use do not believe in such rigid timetable

good work

Oluwaseun

Walaa Salah's picture

Thank you Oluwaseun for

Thank you Oluwaseun for reading through my post and taking the time to comment, much appreciated!
there is indeed many similarities across the world, women are facing difficulties and huge challenges.

Thank you once again

W

be the change

Walaa Salah

weaverheart's picture

So many challenges!

Greetings Walaa,

Thank you very much for posting this informative piece. So many issues to be addressed on behalf of women in Sudan! So many other women in other countries sharing the same challenges. Where to start, how to make change? These are all the questions. There are so many senseless and contradictory messages being given out. You have begun the healing process by speaking out, and I hope you will also create community with others who stand with you for a free future for all. I hope very much that you will continue to do so!

All the best,
Laura

Laura R.

Walaa Salah's picture

Indeed!

Dear Laura
Thank you for your feedback on my post, there is indeed a lot of similarities in many places where fundamentalism and\or harm culture discriminate against and violate women rights. we are trying our best to address and challenge this setup.

AND will never stop fighting for our rights!

Cheers

be the change

Walaa Salah

irmia's picture

We face the same problem here

Let's keep on fighting. Our regulation based on certain religions are increasing. This is so bad, but we have to keep on fighting!

Mia

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