Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Somali Women in the Post Conflict Socio-Political Arena

Somalia is one of the post conflict societies in the horn of Africa. It has been and still characterized by conflicts occurring at inter-state, intra-state and inter-communal levels. Although conflicts in Somalia affected both men and women, women were more vulnerable and highly victimized. For decades, Somali women have been caught in conflict as clans rise against each other or fight for political supremacy. To date, many Somali women and children still live as refugees in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Yemen. One of the main consequences of these decades of conflict is sexual and gender-based violence that takes many forms: domestic violence, early and forced marriages, attempted rape, rape, sexual harassment, Female Genital Mutilation, discrimination and denial of access to resources including inheritance. Research shows that women in Somalia have made progress economically over the last years, but their right to self-determination has been slow. Somali women continue to be marginalized in all aspects of decision-making and governance in Somalia. Women are few in the parliament and even fewer in the cabinet. Often women who are dismissed or are forced to resign are replaced by men. Women´s lives in post conflict Somalia are confronted with obstacles such as: cultural and traditional practices that limit women´s empowerment, poor implementation of gender equality policies and laws, and a civil society with limited financial support, weak capacity, and insecurity settings.