November, 2022 | Haggar Group
Women in Sudan have not only been impacted by the country’s current situation, but by years of conflict, war, and other socio-economic restraints, all of which contributed to their exclusion, and underrepresentation in the public and policy-making spheres. Consequently, women’s imprint in leadership positions and decision-making roles remain weak. To make policy improvements and the consequential monumental shift necessary, an evidence-based approach must be adopted, calling for the need for robust academic research.
With this in mind, Haggar Stakeholders latest Forum was held as a conference titled: ‘Women’s Leadership in Sudan: Challenges and Opportunities’ in collaboration with the Middle East Centre (MEC) at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) and IEL International on November 26th, 2022. The conference disseminated and discussed the outcomes of the first stage of the project on the barriers and enablers of women’s leadership in Sudan, a project conducted by MEC at LSE and IEL International.
Haggar Group periodically holds stakeholders’ forums through their Corporate Sustainability and Social Impact Department. These forums tackle and put multiple matters into the spotlight – especially ones that align with the Sustainable Development Goals we have been committed to – such as environmental issues, ethical corporate practices, gender issues, and so on. You can view our previous forums by clicking here.
November’s session opened with speeches by key representatives like Ms. Muna Merghani, Chief HR & Sustainability Officer at Haggar Group, HMA Giles Lever UK’s Ambassador to Sudan, Dr Souad Mohamed, Leader of the Women’s Leadership in Sudan Project at LSE Middle East Centre among others. The speeches delved into the historical and socioeconomic background of women’s experiences in Sudan.
Following the opening speeches, the main study results were disseminated by Ms. Aida Abbashar, Research Assistant at LSE and Ms. Hala Abushama Researcher at LSE and University of Khartoum. The presentations highlighted the project’s results generally as well as the Sectoral Analysis/ Industrial Brief and current context of enablers and barriers with an emphasis on barriers. Furthermore, some key points during the session highlighted that over the past 15 years, women’s representation in leadership roles remained low with explanations for the gender gap at the highest levels of leadership positions remaining unclear. The World Economic Forum reported in 2022 that unless women’s limited access to economic opportunities and regional gender gaps are addressed, it is unlikely that gender parity can be achieved in the next 136 years.
Later the floor was open for the audience and attendees to share their thoughts. The audience consisted of representatives from the private and public sector including notable public figures, NNGOs, academic institutions as well as those from UN agencies. Some commented on the privileges men have been given by society enabling them to excel and progress in their career paths. Ms. Aisha Musa Alsaeed, a notable politician and previous member of the Sudanese Transitional Government Council, mentioned that one key barrier is ageism, noting that some individuals are regarded as less capable of holding certain positions and carrying specific tasks due to their age or level of seniority.
Others in attendance also brought up the gap between decision making entities and authority figures and grass-root movements or organizations, leaving much of the public’s needs and issues being lost in between. Bridging this gap will lead to much needed fruitful collaborations and infrastructural change.
The forum presented a wonderful opportunity for society at large to view hard data that reflect a realistic image of the state of women from various backgrounds and lines of work. We were honoured to share this platform with LSE – MEC & IEL International and we are looking forward for the future progress of this project and the possible positive and monumental impact we believe it will create, something Sudanese women from different walks of life have historically been in much need of.
Learn more about this forum by visiting the Haggar Forums’ site here.