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Poor women eclipsed in parity discourse in Somalia- Act for Somalia

Storyline:National News

Women in the lower echelons of society face the prospect of being overshadowed by established women movements in Somalia, a Somali based organisation, Act for Somalia has said.

In a statement to mark the International Women’s Day, Act for Somalia has called for fair representation of women not only within the broader context of society but also among women groupings and movements.

The organisation noted women in influential positions in the country have in the past benefited from opportunities in government, the business sector and society at large but have not been committed to empowering fellow women who are less endowed.

“Within the women movement the voices of poorer women and those whose voices are overshadowed by more connected women must be heard. There must be fairness and common purpose within the women’s movements and narratives,” read the statement in part.

Positive steps

While acknowledging the gains made towards mainstreaming women participation in the national discourse, Act for Somalia said there was still much to do to ensure policies and legislations on inclusivity are transformed into a reality.

The organisation observed the 30% quota for women in parliament under the Provisional constitution was a step in the right direction  but called for concerted efforts especially by women to not only actualise these provision but champion for greater representation in many other sectors of society.

“Somali women need to organise effectively, unite behind common causes, create policy coalitions and advocate for their interests as a unified force,” the organisation observed.

Role of men

The role of men in championing for women rights is critical and must be entrenched, Act for Somalia stressed. “Men must advocate and fully support the inclusion of women in all aspects of Somalia’s journey towards peace, progress and prosperity. If we can trust women to bring up the next generation of societal leaders, we can certainly trust them to lead society,” the statement added.

Meanwhile UN Secretary General has called for increased efforts by government to achieve gender parity in line with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world governments September last year.

“Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future,” said Ban.

The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 287 1909 but the UN started the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 1975. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

This year’s theme is is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.