The Federal Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development launched the National Gender Policy formulation process on 15 September 2015 in Mogadishu. The launch was attended by representatives of Somali Authorities—Federal and Regional Interim Administrations, civil society leaders, legislators, representatives of AMISOM and UN in Somalia.
Speaking at the launch, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to Somalia (SRSG) Nicholas Kay pledged the UN’s continued support towards efforts to improve the status of Somali women, particularly for more representative political participation.
In his remarks, Mr. Kay said, “I can promise you continued United Nations support politically. We will raise our voice for you. We will advocate for you. We will try to ensure the processes are fully inclusive and fully representative. We will support your efforts financially and practically; and we will do it with respect for you and with complete trust and confidence in you as Somali women and leaders.” He also emphasized the on-going joint collaboration by the International Community, including AMISOM, UN Agencies and UNSOM to support the efforts of Somali women and the Ministry of Women Affairs. He encouraged the participants to continue their joint efforts, remain united and emerge as Somali leaders and set an example.
In her remarks at the launch, H.E. Zahra Ali Samantar, Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights Development noted that progress has been made in empowering women in Somalia. “We are on the right path as women and as the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development. We are advancing the enactment of policies that advance women’s issues, security and gender equality as well as participation of women in political and economic fields,” said Minister Samantar.
Ms. Halima Ismail Ibrahim, Chairperson of the National Independent Electoral Commission, who is a leading female leader in Somalia said, “I have expectations on the long road to success. Every time we read in the media a committee elected or appointed, there is always hardly any female representation. Be it in ministries, the number of women working there is minimal. We want to advocate for a quota system for women in leadership positions and I am ready to spearhead this advocacy work.”
In his speech, SRSG Kay also noted that while much has been achieved, a lot remains to be done; citing women’s participation in political decision-making, women’s economic empowerment, access to justice, protection of women and girls from abuse and exploitation including sexual and gender-based violence.