Somali women have called for greater political participation and power sharing, as the country marked International Women's Day, thanks to the prevailing peace brought about by the AMISOM troops.
Their demand for better representation in politics was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of International Women's Day celebrations, held in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d'Urso; the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Somalia, Francisco Madeira; Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mahad Abdalla Awad; First Lady Sahra Omar Hassan and the Minister of Women and Human Rights Zahra Samantar attended the celebrations.
Under the theme 'Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality', the day is aimed at encouraging governments to step up efforts in empowering women and eradicating cultural practices, laws and regulations that hinder the realization of their full potential in society.
"The government should come up with a fair formula that spells out women's equitable representation of the 2016 electoral selections in line with the general principle of the provisional constitution of Somalia and article 22 of the Istanbul Communique of February 2016," the women said in the communiqué read by Deqa Yasin, the Operations Manager of IIDA Women's Development Organization.
In his speech, Ambassador d'Urso observed that positive steps had been made in Somalia with regard to rights of women but acknowledged that more should to be done in areas of partnerships, gender mainstreaming and advocacy.
"We need to continue with advocacy and make available real space for women in this process and this also touches on the core development processes, particularly the New Deal. Women have to be involved in all levels," emphasized the Ambassador.
The Minister of Women and Human Rights, Zahra Samantar, called for empowerment of Somali women through education and economic opportunities. The Minister observed that gains had so far been made in the country on issues of women's rights, adding that there was need for Somali women to identify with global developments.
"This year, Somalia has to be part of the developing nations where the role of women is at the core of the development agenda. Development is bringing change and Somalia must be part of that change with regard to women's issues," Zahra Samantar, the Minister said.
The African Union Representative for Somalia Francisco Madeira saluted Somali women for their role in state-building, noting that gains had been made with the support of AMISOM on women rights. He stressed the Mission's commitment to ensure gender equity.
"The African Union Mission in Somalia is highly committed to taking concrete action in supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, in protecting the rights of women and children," said Ambassador Madeira. Uganda has since 2007 been taking part in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), contributing troops to help stabilize the hitherto war torn Horn of Africa nation. Uganda also has police serving in Somalia under the mission.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mahad Abdalla Awad, assured women of the government's commitment in ensuring equality, saying there are constitutional provisions in Somalia that seek to empower women and ensure gender equity.
"Our constitution commands us to promote and strengthen the role of women in every sphere whether in positions of appointment or elective positions," the Deputy Speaker noted.
This year's celebration was organized by EU in-conjunction with the Federal Government of Somalia and with the support of AMISOM and the United Nations.