Young educated Somali women's declaration
Posted: Tuesday 12 June, 2012
MogadishuThe first young educated women consultation meeting organized by Somalia SouthCentral Non-State Actors (SOSCENSA) under the theme; “Women’s’ Quota in the National Constituency Assembly and Parliament” took place on 28th of May 2012.
Attended by twenty young educated Somali women and five men from Universities in Mogadishu, Civil Society organizations, Professional Associations, Human Rights and Women Activists and Media the event took place at SOSCENSA's headquarters in Mogadishu to discuss how the Somali women quota allotted to them under the Garowe II principles (as stated in Garowe II Principles, Page 4, Constituent Assembly, Paragraph B, and Page 6, the new Parliament Paragraph E.) can be translated into reality on the ground.
In the meeting, the young educated women voiced their concerns and premonition relating to what could be the offspring of the ongoing political process in Somalia if representivity and inclusivity are not given paramount considerations as has always happened many times in the past endeavors specially women quota. This is because from Independence Day in 1960s up to the last political proceedings of Somalia, women participation process either has been denied or reduced practically. the Somali Women are often the voiceless victims of the war-ravaged society, although they played a key role in the liberation struggle of the country whereby some of them lost their life while others were prisoned and delivered into the cells, they took part the development of the country and also find ways to contribute peace and reconciliation in the Somali society that can be described as a male dominated patrilineal and patriarchal society, because, traditionally Somali women are regarded as the backbone of their society and primarily they are responsible for biological reproduction of the lineage between Somali clans and their alliances, yet Somali women never received good positions in Somalia’s successive governments.
On the other hand, women work in markets as primary breadwinners for families and men do not raise any religious objections towards this but when it comes to politics, men will come out and cite religious grounds. Does religion come into play when it comes to women holding political positions only? No it is not.
In the meeting Somali women participants seemly highlighted and seemed to stress the role of the TFG Institutions, Traditional Elders, Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations and international community particularly EU and UNPOS in the realization of meaningful women participation in the current political processes in Somalia because “Without joint efforts by all the local and the international stakeholders, one cannot jump to conclusion that women’s quota in the new parliament and the NCA will be materialized as written down in the Garowe II Principles”. They also believe that Somali women will get their allotted quota in Garowe II principles if the TFG President, the Premier, other Politicians and International Community support them and no list will be accepted from the Traditional Elders without female members as stipulated for each clan and should be held accountable for this, in order to realize that 67 seats of the Parliament for the women.
Young educated women in the meeting identified some heavy and strong challenges that may be barrier women to fully participate political process in Somalia such as; 4.5 power sharing formula, less economic, less education, without unity, traditional practice that questions women’s ability to rule or lead, Elders that are not willing to give seats to women due to the intermarriage; and may say; “Hey! You are married to a man from another clan. How can I give you a seat?, Unbalanced political situation of Somalia and other abstracts.
Economically, the participants highlighted that the Somali women should help each other in this critical time and create tentatively enough economic /resources/ because if they do not have it they will not get the allocated quota in full and may be given their seats to men who have more economic /resources/ than women, so in order to achieve what we need, those of us who have the financial means have to support female politicians and Somali women have to come out because they are everywhere and can act as agents of change and believe they can do it.
The young educated Somali women in the meeting urged;
- to realize their goals, women have to show unity of purpose and do not think that the allotted quota is enough for them because they deserve more than that but just they need to be encouraged and shown how powerful they are.
- The participants strongly suggested that the Somali women should stop feeling hopeless and powerless but should fight for their rights in line with Islamic Religion approaches and should not look more rights than that religion granted to them.
- The participants requested that the Somali women to help each other in this critical time and create tentatively enough economic /resources/.
- The participating parts called the signatories of the Garowe II, to fully implement their decisions as stipulated under the Garowe II Communiqué, particularly Part 3 (Operationalizing the Garowe I Principles).
- Education requirements must not be used as a barrier to prevent women from getting nominated because their male counterparts are not adequately educated but we suggest the women who are going to be nominated have to be qualified and professional.
- The young educated women fully supported the outcome of the Somali civil society meeting in Entebbe and called the Signatories and the international community to support it.
Finally the meeting participants are hereby extending their healthy felt gratitude to the signatories of the Roadmap and the international community.