Fighting for voice
Somalia is a traditional nomadic male-controlled society where women are not given much consideration. Women are not recognized as independent adults, but as dependents on their male counterparts, Women’s exclusion from the customary law (XEER) signifies that women are not accepted as persons with the necessary skills, experience, knowledge and abilities to qualify them to be part of the decision-making and peace building process.
Despite their subordinate position, women remain very resourceful actors in their families and communities for last two decades and acted as bread winners. The armed conflict in the country has caused majority of the Somali women being displaced from their houses with their children, they also become vulnerable for several difficult humanitarian conditions, further more women are subjected to sexual gender based violence which become epidemic among the Somali society. Lack of access to justice shouldered by perpetrator’s clan power supremacy has increased the rate of SGBV in the country.
The current context of women’s political participation in Somalia is principally accepted because of numerous Advocacy and local/international pressure groups formed. As a result of those interventions 30% of women’s quota was accepted in Garowe principles although it was not manifested in the road map and bylaw of the country. However during selection process of the MPs women received only 14% due to the involvement of clan elders who were believed cultural perceptions that women should stay at home.
The gender inequality is still a challenge at family, community and national levels. Parent preferences of boys over girls still exist where large numbers of girls are restricted to work at home. Women in rural areas are severely affected by this problem. Community perception that women should not take part in social decision making is still active in Somali society; there is no women elder, sultan or women leader as culturally without women, men can’t do any step forward.