This report presents elements of the development of Sudanese women’s political participation through time. It highlights several political routes from their early days until the contemporary era. The study is based on an analysis of secondary sources alongside empirical data derived from four states within Sudan, namely: Blue Nile, Central Darfur, Kassala and River Nile. Different themes are explored and they include: the meanings of political participation, women’s leadership roles, identifying structural limitations that hinder the participation of women in politics, possible avenues for women’s participation, the presence of women in politics, variations in religious interpretations and their impact on political participation, the status of the Sudanese constitution and the views of women and men on the extent that women might advance in the next elections.
The report also address how the December revolution of 2018 might improve the situation for women’s political participation, since it marks a break from the earlier practices of the Islamist regime that had a severe negative impact on the freedoms of Sudanese women and their ability to engage in political activities. Political parties are considered gatekeepers for women’s access to political positions of power as they play an important role in institutionalizing women’s inclusion in politics. Ensuring that political parties in Sudan play an active role in the advancement of gender equality and the enhancement of women’s political participation is particularly important as Sudan prepares for its transition to democracy.