Understanding Barriers and Enablers to Women's Leadership in Sudan

in partnership with IEL International and University of Khartoum

Principal Investigator: Dr Souad Mohamed
Duration: May 2021 – May 2023
Supported by: Ethar Relief

Opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
photo_cameraOpening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (2019). Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown, Flickr.

Over the past 15 years, women’s representation in leadership roles has remained low with explanations for the gender gap at the highest levels of leadership positions still unclear. The World Economic Forum reported in 2020 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 150 years.

Efforts to improve gender equality in Sudan by 2030 remains at risk despite the progress made so far including the Sudanese Women’s Declaration for Change No (1) 2019, which requested representation of women in all sectors at division making positions. As the Covid-19 pandemic progresses from a global health crisis into a social-economic crisis, risks to women’s employment across sectors is becoming greater. Women’s labour force participation was fragile before the pandemic, and the current crisis is making it even more precarious.

This project explores the barriers and enablers of women’s advancement within Sudan, in the context of their disadvantages. This research aims to analyse the development of female leadership from women's perspectives by looking at the major barriers they face in rising to senior positions, as well as what practices have proven useful in the development of Sudanese female leaders. It compares Sudan with other MENA countries regarding women’s issues with the aim to better understand how lessons from other contexts can be applied in Sudan.

Advisory Board: Professor Sue Dopson, Deputy Dean of Saïd Business School at University of Oxford (UK), Dr Hania Fadl (Sudan); Dr Magda Hercheui, School of Management at University College London and Dr Bobbi Thomason, Pepperdine University, Graziadio Business School (USA).

Research Team

Souad Mohamed

Souad Mohamed | Principal Investigator

Souad is an interdisciplinary scholar whose current research projects includes women leadership development with a focus on top management career trajectories. She is CEO of IEL International.

Aida Abbashar

Aida Abbashar | Research Assistant

Aida is a PhD candidate at Durham University. Her research focuses on the history of constitution-making in Sudan, looking at the roles that different actors, policies and events have played in constitutional development and negotiations since 1956. 

Hala Abushama

Hala Abushama | Researcher

Hala is a development economist, researcher, and practitioner. with a focus on socio-economic aspects of economic and public policy. Hala is also a founding member of the Sudanese Women Economists Association.

Tyseer Elhadi Omer

Tyseer Elhadi Omer | Project Partnership Lead, University of Khartoum

Tyseer is Associate Professor of Agricultural Sociology and Director of Gender Studies Institute, University of Khartoum.