South Sudan: Women, Peace, & Security

South Sudan is a nascent state, having gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. While intra-state and inter-state conflicts have been prevalent throughout this fledgling democracy’s brief existence, independence has created new opportunities for women to participate in the political, social and economic life of their country. At the same time, significant violence, corruption, poverty and inter-ethnic power relations have also hampered the ability of women to actively participate as citizens in shaping South Sudan’s future.

D3 Systems and Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security examine the progress made and challenges faced by South Sudanese women in peace and security efforts at home. The study’s key findings are based on public opinion research conducted in November 2011 and December 2013, policy analysis and journalistic reporting. This paper identifies key trends in the status of South Sudanese women, highlights best practices on gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding, political transition and post-conflict development, and also provides recommendations for national and international stakeholders moving forward.

Key Findings:

  • Between the two waves of the study, security concerns increased at both the national and local levels.
  • In Wave 1, 72% of female respondents reported that they “Strongly Agree” the South Sudan government can protect the people of South Sudan.  In Wave 2, the percentage fell to 59%.
  • Trends suggest a deepening distrust of security forces among female respondents (Wave 1: 53% report the military is “Very Trustworthy;” Wave 2: 37% report the military is “Very Trustworthy”).
  • Perceptions of neighborhood security also worsened (W1: 16% believed in the last 6 months, the level of security in their neighborhood had “Gotten worse;” W2: the percentage doubled to 32% reporting the level of security in their neighborhood had “Gotten worse”).
  • Economic concerns are highlight prioritized, especially unemployment and extremism.

For more in-depth results, download the poster.

Brian Kirchhoff of D3 Systems and Rebecca Turkington of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security presented these findings at the 69th annual American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Conference in Annaheim, California from May 15th – May 18th, 2014.  Check out our Research & Publications page for more AAPOR 2014 papers and presentations.