Women call for greater political participation and power sharing in Somalia
On 8 March 2016, an event was organised by the Federal Government of Somalia with support from the European Union and United Nations agencies under the theme, ‘A pledge for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’, t recognise International Women’s Day. This responds to call by Somali women for greater political participation and power sharing, as the country marks the day and prepares for elections later in the year.
European Union Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso; the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Somalia, Francisco Madeira; Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Mahad Abdalla Awad; First Lady Sahra Omar Hassan and the Minister of Women and Human Rights Zahra Samantar, attended celebrations held in Mogadishu to commemorate the day.
In his speech, Ambassador d’Urso observed that positive steps had been made in Somalia with regard to rights of women but acknowledged that more should to be done in areas of partnerships, gender mainstreaming and advocacy.
“We need to continue with advocacy and make available real space for women in this process and this also touches on the core development processes, particularly the New Deal. Women have to be involved in all levels,” – European Union Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso.
Currently, Somalia has 40 women MPs out of a total of 275, meaning that 14.5 per cent of the parliamentarians are women. However, the number is expected to increase in the next Parliament, thanks to the recently agreed electoral model which stipulates that 30 per cent of the electoral seats both in the Lower and Upper Houses of parliament will be reserved for women.
“Our constitution commands us to promote and strengthen the role of women in every sphere whether in positions of appointment or elective positions,” – Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mahad Abdalla Awad.
Ms Maryan Mohammed Hussein, one of the gender affairs coordinators says the administration is already working towards ensuring that 30 per cent of all government appointments go to women. Ms Maryan believes the gains would not have been easy without the support of African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
Amisom has been in the forefront in creating a conducive environment for women to thrive. Securing the country has brought relative peace, enabling women to realise their full potential. Amisom is currently aiding the Federal Government of Somalia develop the Somali National Gender Policy document that will act as a blueprint for women empowerment programmes.