Somali women are demanding more involvement in political and decision-making processes. They seek to make a more significant contribution to Somalia’s peacebuilding and state-building efforts. At the Open Day organized by the United Nations in Somalia in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Somali women revisited their roles and duties in the political and peacebuilding processes.
Over 55 women representatives from civil society as well as the federal government and regional administrations, security sector institutions including the Somali Police Force and Somali National Army, judicial institutions, Members of Parliament, youth and students attended the Open Day. Shipra Bose, UNSOM Senior Gender Advisor, emphasized that the Open Day provides women leaders, peacebuilders and community leaders with access and opportunities to directly interact with the senior leadership of the UN. She added that participants in the Open Day event can share views and reflect on their role and contribution as well as the challenges facing the country’s peacebuilding and political processes.
During the discussions, Asli Ismail Duale, a member of the Somali Women’s Leadership Initiative, noted that women in Somalia are still marginalized with a very low level of involvement in political processes. “United Nations Resolution 1325 gives us a right to political participation. Unless we women participate, half of the society will be missing. It is comparable to someone who wants to clap, but one of the hands is incapacitated,” she noted.
The Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Zahra Mohamed Ali Samantar, observed that women have historically played a critical role in Somalia and their role shouldn’t be ignored: “The importance of resolution 1325 is that it obliges us to strengthen and empower women in decision-making. At the end of the war, unfortunately, women have not been given as much opportunity,” the minister emphasized. The women leaders recognized the need for united efforts in securing a stronger voice in the political arena.
In his remarks, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Somalia, Nicholas Kay, advised women to continue their unified efforts and lobbying for their increased political participation, while reaffirming the support of his office and the entire United Nations family in Somalia.