Sudan: Fatima Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim

I call upon all women to collaborate their efforts to implement the United Nation's declarations concerning women and children's rights in real life.

— Fatima Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim

Fatima Ahmed (72), born in Khartoum, is a Cambridge University graduate. She worked as a schoolteacher, but later resigned to work voluntarily full-time in the Sudanese Women's Union, over which she presided in 1956. Her main work focuses on gender equality in decision-making, social justice and human rights. Fatima became the first Sudanese woman member of parliament through the democratic election in the Sudan in 1965 and won the United Nations Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Human Rights in 1993.

When Fatima obtained a Cambridge University Certificate, she dreamt of studying at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. But her father could not afford her higher education expenses. So, she decided to work as a schoolteacher and married a famous political activist and trade unionist in Sudan, who later won an International Peace Medal for his remarkable political achievements. In 1971, due to the country's anarchic political conditions, he was executed and she was jailed, leaving behind a one-year-old child for her family to look after. While in prison, she was denied food and medicine, and her medical condition seriously deteriorated. Thanks to Amnesty International, Fatima is alive and is now the president of the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF). While still in high school, she launched a newsletter addressing political and social issues, such as women's rights and British Colonialism. She also wrote on the same subjects in public newspapers and organized the first women-initiated strike in the Sudan, which was provoked by the policies of the British administrations in girls' schools. It followed the dropping of science subjects from the curriculum under the pretext that Sudanese girls are less-qualified to study science. The strike organizers were expelled from the schools, only to be allowed later to resit the Cambridge University International Exam. In 1952 Fatima sought to transform WIDF into a political party in order to protect the social and political rights of women, especially with regard to being elected as members of parliament. The islamic parties, who considered that women's participation in political life and the equality of men and women contradict the Shari’a Law, had unfortunately lobbied against her proposal. Fatima studied the elements of Islamic jurisprudence thoroughly and provided counter-evidence to this claim.

Sudanese Women's Union (SWU) Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) Committee Against Violation of Women's, Youth and Students Human Rights (CAVWYSHR)