Patriarchy has always been heavily obsessed with policing and controlling how women dress and behave in public. And this has been the case in Sudan, where a law was enacted in the legislation books which controlled how women dressed and acted in public. The law has been repealed and women in Sudan from all quarters are pretty much elated.
It is an archaic piece of law that really enslaved women in this age. It is a piece of law that stripped women of their freedom and severely made them endure the unfairness of this law. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok wants to usher in new reforms, and on Twitter, he paid tribute to women "who have endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law".
The establishment of Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted through a military coup after massive, widespread protests in the country, was sharply and ignorantly focused on the conduct of women. And this is to the extent that women were not allowed to wear trousers, and the government under al-Bashir systematically ignored the welfare of women as regards education and healthcare.
"It is about time that all this corruption stops, that all this treatment for the women of Sudan stops," said Aisha Musa, one of the two women in the new Sovereign Council.
Sudan is currently headed by a Sovereign Council comprising of a joint military and civilian council. It has a civilian-led government with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at the helm.
Women were made to be excluded from the public sphere of life because of these rigid and obsolete laws. The restrictions gave the authorities powers to "arbitrarily control what women wore, whom they spoke to and saw, and any job they might hold - with any perceived offender facing punishment by flogging, or in rare cases stoning and even execution." The laws were vague and wide, making them prone to whatever interpretation the authorities decided to give.
It is a progressive move that eliminates stereotypes of women - stereotypes that are really counter-productive on a humanity level. Why police other people's conduct and feel you own them?
Many still say that more is needed to end a "very discriminatory legal framework". The revocation of the Public Law Order is still viewed as a monumental step in the progression of Sudan, a country reeling under a myriad of problems.
Morality police often targeted poorer women from the marginalized areas on the periphery of this vast country. You would only see the rich Khartoum women wearing trousers.
So much for controlling other people's morality.
Header image credit - BBC