International Women's Day was observed across Sudan from 8 (the actual day) to 11 March with musical performances, poetry readings, handicraft exhibitions, seminars, speeches promoting women's rights and marches.
The theme of this year's celebrations was "equal rights, equal opportunities: progress for all". In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described equality for women and girls as both "an economic and social imperative" and "a matter of basic human rights."
A march was held through the streets of the Western Bahr El Ghazal state capital of Wau on 8 March that ended at the offices of the state government's secretariat, and speeches were later delivered by a number of officials and women's rights activists.
"We shall never surrender," said the state minister of social welfare Rose Mary Mariano, who also led the procession.
Linda Ferdinand of the non-governmental organization Women Network thanked the state government for its participation in the festivities and identified better education for girls and the lowering of teenage pregnancy and early marriage rates as priority goals for the future.
The state's acting governor Awad Juma Aman received the marchers at the secretariat and reminded the gathering that women are capable of stopping wars and curbing violence.
The Totto Chan child trauma centre in Juba was the site of Women's Day celebrations in the regional capital of Southern Sudan.
Organizers of the event included the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare, the Gender and Human Rights sections of UNMIS and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Women's Union and the Roots Project.
"We must liberate women and girls from poverty and injustice for us to achieve peace, security and development," said Fedishia Charles of the state government ministry.
The programme featured an exhibit of handicrafts produced by Sudanese women under the auspices of the Roots Project. Its founder and director Anyieth D'Awol said the NGO seeks to empower women and preserve Sudanese culture.
"We are getting skillful women across Southern Sudan who are capable of demonstrating their abilities in craft making," said Ms. D'Awol.
One of several events to mark the Day in Khartoum was held on 5 March at Ahfad University, which included a musical performance, exhibition of women's handicrafts, poems, solo singing by students and a debate on democracy, women's rights and elections.
On 7 March, a press conference was organized by Khartoum State Minister of Social Welfare, Women and Child Affairs Amira Alfadil and sponsored by Khartoum Women and Child Welfare. Ms. Alfadil noted that the ministry's 2010 programme would include women's development as well as safe childhood and maternity.
Sponsored by Presidential Advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail, another activity on 8 March at Khartoum's Friendship Hall included a poetry reading and songs reflecting the history of women's political participation and involvement in decision-making.
An event at Khartoum University organized by Khartoum State Ministry of Social Welfare, the UN and civil society on 10 March included discussions on women and reproductive health, peace, elections, microfinance, HIV/AIDS, legislation and violence. On 11 March, a seminar at Ahfad University focused on the need to involve women in elections.