Understanding the Barriers to Girls' and Women's Access to Higher Education in Puntland, Somalia: A Video and Blogging Project

Gender inequality is common in Africa´s educational institutions, where cultural, sociological, economic, psychological, historical and political factors play a part. In Somalia, as in other developing nations, large numbers of girls often drop out of secondary schools as a result of discriminatory gender norms such as early pregnancy, early marriage and the demand for girls’ involvement in household work. In Somalia, fewer female than male students progress to secondary and tertiary education. Although comprehensive data on the transition between secondary and post secondary/university education are scarce, data from Somaliland, Puntland and South Central’s Department of Policy and Planning Education Management Information System (EMIS) show that fewer girls enrol in secondary schools compared to primary schools and fewer still enrol in tertiary education. This briefing note examines the social norms that influence access to higher education by young women in Puntland and presents possible solutions for breaking down the barriers. It explores women’s perceptions of and experiences with various forms of gender bias and stereotyping in their academic career and puts forward recommended actions to increase awareness of the benefits of girls´ and women’s education.