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Black Women Make History in Portugal and Sudan

Portugal’s parliamentary legislative elections this month ended with three black women making history as the first black women elected as lawmakers. The three women are of Guinea Bissau descent, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa.

The women campaigned on fighting racism and inequality as blacks in the country, whose origins stem from other Portuguese colonies that include Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé, Cape Verde and Brazil, have experienced racial disparities in the education system, housing, employment and in the justice system. They would Ike to see more diversity in politics, business, and media. 

The women were among 89 elected in the 230 seat parliament. Portugal passed a gender parity law that requires 40% of lawmakers elected to be female.

Sudan also made the news with its appointment of Nemat Abdullah Mohamed Khair as the first female Chief Justice for the country, the Arab world and the fifth in Africa.

She is among many women who have taken on leading roles since Sudan’s uprising earlier this year after President Omar al-Bashir was forced out of office. Much like the law in Portugal, the transitional government is drafting legislation to mandate 40% of women elected to the transitional legislative council.

The Realist Woman’s take:

Women have to put up with much more criticism and scrutiny than men who run for office do and the fact that these women were able to seek and gain such important roles in their governments are going to make a difference in the lives of blacks in Portugal and for women in Sudan. Wonderful story.

I think it’s sad that governments have to mandate women into its legislative bodies but if that’s what it takes to ensure a seat at the table for women, then so be it. I’m here for it. And I hope to see more black women elected in our own up and coming elections in this country. Our issues and needs should and deserve to be addressed and we are one of the most underserved groups in the U.S.

Black women make history in Portugal and Sudan