UNDEF project helps get more women into parliament in Somalia


Allowing women to become political leaders is vital, not only to ensure a fully inclusive democracy, but so that women’s interests and concerns are represented in decision making.  With the ongoing conflict in Somalia, the problem of female representation in government is not given a high priority.  Amidst political turmoil and religious extremism, the rights of women are frequently overlooked and women are severely unrepresented in the decision making process in Somalia.  And yet, as recognized by UN Security Council resolution 1325, there needs to be full participation of women for sustainable peace.

An UNDEF funded project with Radio Daljir in Somalia has the goal of “Giving Voice to the Voiceless Women and Girls of Somalia”. This project pushed for a national quota for women representatives in the recent Upper Chamber elections and for the upcoming Lower Chamber parliamentary elections.

Through radio advocacy and direct lobbying, the project has helped to ensure that the regions of Puntland and Galmudug have 30 percent of seats allocated to women in the Upper House Chambers of the Federal Parliament.

After the elections held on 10th October 2016 in Garoowe, Puntland for the first time in Somalia's history there will be 30 percent of female representation in these regions.

The success in Puntland came through female candidates being chosen to represent their respective regions in the Upper House in the Somali Federal Government. The representatives are Senator Shukri Adan Camay- Galkayo, Mudug Region, Senator Hodan Mohamud Osman - Las Anood, Sool Region and Senator Saciida Hassan Osman - Badhan, Sanaag Region. In a ground-breaking victory Senator Saciida Hassan Osman went head to head with three male opponents and emerged the winner.   

Including women in the decision making process and leadership positions is crucial to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all girls and women by the year 2030.

UNDEF would like to congratulate the newly elected senators and Radio Daljir for their tireless efforts towards gender equality and advancing the human rights of women and girls in Somalia.