Dozens of Somali leaders including first lady Zahra Omar Hassan, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development Sahra Samatar, Minister of Health Hawa Mohamud and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mahad Abdallah Awad joined the EU Ambassador to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) to Somalia Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira and the Acting UN Resident Coordinator for Somalia, George Conway, in celebrations to mark International Women’s Day in Mogadishu with a strong statement for women empowerment and emancipation in Somalia.
Somali civil society actors, the EU, UN and AU representatives, Somalia Federal and Regional government officials, members of the Somalia Federal parliament and other influential public figures including women leaders, took part in a well-attended panel discussion to review and explore the status of Somali women in politics and their role in state building, peace building and reconciliation, with a specific focus on women representation in 2016 Electoral process as well as the 30 percent women quota in power sharing.
In his opening remarks, EU Ambassador to Somalia, Michele Cervone, urged the panelists and participants to recognize the selfless struggle Somali women go through and their achievement against great odds. He invited to critically examine the huge challenges they still face and chart a way forward for Somali women to fully participate in Somalia’s future. The Ambassador reminded the participants that gender equality is at the core of European values enshrined within the European Union legal and political framework.
“I applaud every one of you here today for your work for women’s empowerment and gender equality in Somalia, because gender equality is not only a question of social justice but it goes hand in hand with peace and development. We need to urge all stakeholders both at Federal and Regional levels to promote meaningful inclusion of women in their governments and organizations if indeed they are to achieve equity and prosperity because women are the backbone of society,” Ambassador Michele Cervone said.