Ms. Fardowso Ali Daheym, a beneficiary from Jowhar
25 years oldFardowso Ali Dahey is one of project beneficiaries –GESI. She participated in the 9 days training program of stakeholders’ mobilization and education awareness programs on women inclusion in governance and political structures in Jowhar district –Middle Shebelle and represented civil society organizations. She appreciated the crucial role this project has played in the lives of women and shared her feelings to training participants:
“Since I started engaging in this project, I feel that the knowledge gained has impacted on my morale and I am becoming more confidence.
“The most significant barriers to women’s political participation and leadership in our community are that women are seen as unreliable representatives in the political arena, because of their dual affiliation to their father’s and husband’s clan. Men and women broadly agree here that there is significant ‘cultural stigma’ attached to women joining government and politics, and in particular adopting positions of leadership. However, the gendered norms and expectations, which delegitimize women in this context, do not necessarily appear to be static.
In 2012 I attempted to join local administration Authority. I contested to be secretary of social affairs. Unfortunately the one and the only challenge I had wasthe clan leaders’ perceptions about women representing them in politics. Clanism represents one of the most significant barriers to women’s political participation and leadership. Clans in Somalia are culturally consensual identities inherited from patriarchal ancestors, within which power is differentiated along gender and age lines with women subjugated to men, and young to old.
However, this is soon improving. From this project, I learnt that girls and women have a right to engage in civil society, vote in elections, be elected to government office, serve on boards, and make their voices heard in any process that will ultimately affect them, their families, and their communities. I also learnt that investing in girls’ and women’s right to political participation is a necessary step to achieving global gender equality and democratic governance.
The parliamentary gender quota in Somalia has marked a significant and important step towards women’s equal political representation. However, I am alsoalso emphatic that the quota will not necessarily translate into meaningful influence and impact for women, and as such should be seen as a starting point rather than an end goal, emphasizing the importance of building a pipeline of viable female candidates to enter politics, and critically supporting women to influence and operate once in post.
To eliminate structural and legal obstacles that hinder all girls’ and women’s participation in politics and decision-making, and hold those obstructing them accountable and secure equal visibility of female politicians and decision-makers, and promote more inclusive representation of leadership”