1. Somalia has been always male-dominated society.
  2. Women are still unpreviledged and nearly unrepresented at all levels of decision-making political bodies, but first and foremost in traditional leadership, in particular. There are no women traditional leaders in all Somali clans and regions, and this is the core of the problem in woman standing in Somali society. In a nutshell, a woman has no voice in Somali traditional governance, and this is the major factor as to why women are under-represented politically.
  3. As the Civil War broke out in 1991, and even before that as armed opposition struggle against tyranny of Military Regime started a decade earlier, women and kids had suffered most, on the one hand, and women became the breadwinners of families as men either went to war or fell prey to societal epidemic of qat-chewing addictions and abandoned family responsibilities, on the other hand.
  4. Fledgling federalism in Somalia has restored relative peace to regions and therefore alleviated the pains and suffering of families, empowering women and giving some voice in getting some women and minorities elected to political bodies – still not enough though, and it is a long shot to go to achieve fair play and plane field for all in this country
  5. Attempts to empower women in Somalia by international organizations, local non-state actors and representatives of foreign missions are viewed negatively here by male-dominated Somali society. This negative perception is about harm being done to Somali traditional values on woman belonging to the household rather than becoming a leader in the society. There is a strong pushback from men to maintain the status quo. This is a major obstacle to women empowerment and I believe it will take many generations to change the existing centuries-old societal attitudes and cultural barriers towards gender equality in Somalia.

To achieve parity with men and claim their Allah-given human and civic rights, Somali women should challenge their fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and men colleagues why they aren’t being recognized as equal partners.

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