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The Wessexes

The Countess of Wessex marks International Women’s Day on her historic visit to South Sudan

Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Royal Family Instagram

The Countess of Wessex brought her groundbreaking trip to South Sudan to a close with an event supporting female leadership. As she concluded her time in the country, Sophie attended a day organised by groups working to encourage women in the country to realise their full potential.

The event was run by ”Born to Lead”, a group of local civil society activists who are supported by Oxfam. At their celebration for International Women’s Day, they put on a series of stalls showcasing artistic and cultural achievements by women in the country. Sophie visited the stalls and met many of the women whose work was on show.

Speaking at the event, the Countess of Wessex said ” My message to the men is to encourage you all to listen to your women folk and to support them to take their place at your side. This is not a take-over, this is not a competition, this is about peace, it is about unity, it is about what is fair and right for the benefit of all. At the end of the day we are better together.”

Sophie continued ”Your country needs many more women to step up and help to shape and steer it towards the bright future which is within the nation’s grasp. And who knows, perhaps amongst us here today exists the first female President of South Sudan.”

The Countess of Wessex is the first member of the Royal Family to visit South Sudan which was recognised as a sovereign state in 2011. Her trip focused on issues related to the rights of girls and women and co-incided with International Women’s Week. On International Women’s Day in 2019, the countess detailed her commitment to the UK’s efforts in the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative and during her time in South Sudan she has met survivors as well as those offering them support.

During her time in the country, Sophie has also met female politicians and discussed ways to bring more women into politics as well as ensure greater female participation at the ballot box. She has also met men working to bring greater gender equality into their local communities as well as meeting military personnel who are involved in outreach programmes supporting security for all.

You can read more about the historic visit to South Sudan by the Countess of Wessex here.

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Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.