Why South Sudan is Patriarchal Society?

By Ter Manyang Gatwech,


burning tukuls in a South Sudan village....
burning tukuls in a South Sudan village….

March 1st, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— Patriarchal describes a general structure in which men have power over women. Society (n.) is the entirety of relations of a community. A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships. A patriarchy, from the ancient Greek patriarchies, was a society where power was held by and passed down through the elder males. When modern historians and sociologists describe a “patriarchal society,” they mean that men hold the positions of power: head of the family unit, leaders of social groups, boss in the workplace and heads of government. In South Sudan, some men do not allow their women to express themselves in public and of what they have acquired from the school due to ‘’stereotypes and Gender Glass Ceiling’ in South Sudan. There is need to adopt the Rwanda system in South Sudan. Women are the most affected ones since 1983-2017 due to ongoing civic wars in the South Sudan.

In Chapter V of the Peace Agreement; the three Commissions namely; Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH), Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) and Compensation and Reparation Authority (CRA) there is need to involved women into those three commission in order for South Sudan to move forward.

  1. Truth Commissions:

  • Societies and individuals are entitled to know the truth about mass human rights violations in the wake of armed conflict or repression. Truth seeking initiatives play a powerful role in documenting and acknowledging human rights violations.
  • Truth Seeking initiatives take many forms-including freedom of information legislation, declassification of archives, investigations into the missing, and disappeared-and established of non-judicial commission of inquiry; including truth commission.

South Africa, Chile, Sierra Leone etc


  • Less confrontational
  • Account for the missing
  • Closure for victims
  1. Reparations:

  • Reparations seek to recognize and address the harms suffered by victims of systematic human rights violations.


  • Aid the victims to the managed the material aspects of their loss.
  • Constitutes an official acknowledgement of their pain by the nation
  • May deter the state from future abuses, by imposing a financial cost to such misdeeds.
  1. Hybrid Court:

  • Combination of different elements of Transitional Systems
  • Sierra Leone: Truth Commission and a Special Court
  • East Timor: Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation and Special Panels for Serious Crimes.
  • Such initiatives often have material elements (such as cash payments or health services) as well as symbolic aspects (such as public apologies or day of remembrance)

For example;

  • From 1996 to 2008, the Chilean Government paid more than $1.6 billion in pensions to certain victims of the Pinochet regime, and established a specialized health care program for survivors of violations. These accompanied by an official from the president.
  • In 2010, the President of Sierra Leone formally apologized to women victims of the country’s 10-year armed conflict. This apology forms part of on-going efforts to distribute modest compensation, rehabilitations and other benefits to eligible victims.

History of women’s representation in Rwanda’s Parliament

‘’The number of women parliamentarians noteworthy in the context of Rwanda’s recent history. Rwandan women were fully enfranchised and granted the right to stand for election in 1961, at the time of independence from Belgium. The first female parliamentarian began serving in 1965.10 However, before its civil war in the early 1990s and the genocide in 1994, Rwandan women never held more than 18% of seats in the country’s parliament.11 During the nine-year period of post-genocide transitional government, from 1994-2003, women’s representation reached 25.7% in the unicameral parliament (by appointment) and a new gender-sensitive constitution was adopted. It was the first post-genocide parliamentary elections of October 2003 that ushered women into the legislature in dramatic numbers’’

The upper house of Rwanda’s new bicameral legislature, the Senate, has 26 members elected or appointed to eight-year terms. Some members of the Senate are elected by provincial and sectorial councils, others or appointed by the President and other institutions (e.g. the national university). A constitutional guarantee was achieved in 2003 by the appointment of women to 30% of posts. The lower house is the Chamber of Deputies. There are 80 members serving five-year terms, 53 of whom are directly elected to represent political parties in a proportional representation system.

The additional seats are contested in the following manner: 24 members are elected by women from each province and the capital city of Kigali, two are elected by the National Youth Council, and one is elected by the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled. The 24 seats that are reserved for women are contested in women-only elections; that is, only women can stand for election and only women can vote. In addition to the 24 set-asides in the Chamber of Deputies, the 2003 elections saw an additional 15 women elected in openly competed seats for a total of 39 out of 80, or 48.8% of seats. The dramatic gains for women are a result of specific mechanisms used to increase women’s political participation, among them a constitutional guarantee, quota system, and innovative electoral structures. The Rwandan government, specifically the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has made women’s inclusion a hallmark of its program for post-genocide recovery and reconstruction.

Why too much Gender-Based Violence in South Sudan?

Gender-Based Violence is defined in various ways by different researchers and organizations. It is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, as well as the unequal power relationships between the genders within the context of a specific society (Bloom 2008:14. In defining Gender-Based Violence, the most common definition is that of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Eliminations of Violence against women in (South Sudan).

The most violation of human rights in South Sudan include; rights of the women in situations of armed conflict, such as systematic rape, sexual slavery, (Unity State), forced married, , forced sterilization, forced abortion, prenatal sex selection and female infanticide.

Keep yourself safe:

  • Learn   to kwon when there is danger
  • Learn how to keep safe
  • Don’t drink too much-alcohol leads to violence
  • Do not go to places which are dangerous
  • Go away if there is violence
  • Walk with friends if possible
  • Don’t walk in dark places at night
  • Learn self-defence like karat

How to stop violence:

There are many things we need that will prevent violence in South Sudan

  • We need a strong government (Strong laws)

Our government was voted in because South Sudanese could believe in human rights. We should always vote for good leaders, fairs laws and strong police, and the judiciary, executive, parliament

  • We need good school education

Schools should encourage young people to learn parenting and negotiating.

  • Businesses need to get involved to stop violence.

They can help to create jobs, especially by supporting small businesses

  • We need responsible media

TV stations should not show programmes which make violence look glamorous. Should also not show too much violence on the news.

  • We need safe drinking

We need people to understand the problems of too much alcohol. We need strong laws to punish people who are violent or drive badly because of alcohol

  • We need improved living conditions

More jobs, for the youths, better housing and more recreation facilities will help stop violence in South Sudan. 30% of old men are employed while 70% of educated young people are unemployed in South Sudan.

  • We need control of weapons

The government must have stricter laws for weapons licenses and guns increase violence in the society. The government also needs to control illegal ownership of weapons.

Every time there is violence near you, there is a right and a wrong thing to do. Think quickly about what to do that can help. Think about what could be dangerous for you or other people’’

Root causes of gender- based violence

Why is GBV so widespread in South Sudan despite the international conventions and local legislation enacted to prevent? Why is GBV higher in some communities and among certain groups than others? There is no easy answer to these questions as the cause of Gender-Based Violence cannot be attributed to a single factor. Many studies (e.g. Abrahams, 1999; Jewkes, 2002; Sinsworth, 2009; Wood and Jewkes 2001) found that imbalances of power in gender inequality and discriminatory patriarchal practices women to be rooting a cause of GBV.

These patriarchal attitudes often favour men over women. At the economic level, factors include poverty, unemployment and changing economic statuses among men and women.

Selected forms of gender- based violence

  • Domestic violence:

Domestic violence is the most common form of GBV among partners. It often involves physical violence or threats of violence. This of violence may also involve sexual assault, battery, coercion and sexual harassment (Sigsworth 2009; Tswaranang Legal Centre 2012)

  • Physical violence:

This form of GBV often involves hitting, slapping, kicking, punching, pushing and so forth. Weapons such as knives and other sharp instruments are often used physical violence (Sigsworth 2009; Tshwaranag Legal Centre 2012).

  • Economic violence:

These include control of a partner’s assets to money and other economic resources. The male partner may be reluctant for his female to work or may manage and abuse her payment for work done (Ludsin and Vetten 2005)

  • Emotional violence:

Emotional violence often involves verbal abuse, name calling and belittling of the other. It entails acts of embarrassment, humiliation and disrespect. These acts affect one’s sense of self-esteem and self-confidence (Ludsin and Vetten 2005).

  • Sexual violence:

This is the most common form of GBV and may involve rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and trafficking for purposes (Mathews 2010; Vetten 2003)

By Mr. Ter Manyang Gatwech,

Executive Director of International Youth for Africa


Email: termanyang24@gmail.com / internationalyouthafrica@gmail.com

Skype: Ter Manyang

Twitter: @TerManyag1


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