Women's Political Participation in Puntland - Prospects for Progress

The study aimed at assessing and documenting women’s political participation in Puntland, focusing on the recent political processes while drawing lessons from historical trends and broader societal issues surrounding women’s political participation. The study aimed to provide policy recommendations so as to influence future interventions. The study assessed the level of Somali women’s participation in politics in Puntland and this was found to be very low. Some of the major findings of this research study include the lack of clear policy and legal frameworks that support and promote women’s political participation in Puntland. Although some elders feel that it is against the Somali tradition for women to participate in politics and public decision-making, the analyses of the results suggest something different. About 74% of the people the team interviewed spoke positively about women’s participation in politics in Puntland whereas 23% did not. Of the 74.2% 51.2 are women, 22.9 are men and for the ones against 25.8%; 14.3 women, 11.6 are men. The other 7% were of the opinion that women can participate in some selected political positions. Culture plays a significant role in influencing people’s attitudes and perceptions towards women’s participation in politics. Another major finding was the the effect of the clan based system on women's political participation and women's status in general. The clan based system in Puntland is under the control of the traditional clan elders who determine who is selected and who is appointed into office and positions of power. Women in Puntland have done quite well in getting elected into local councils with 62 women currently (making 25 % of 250 total) but at parliament and in cabinet, the numbers are dismal with only 2 women parliamentarians out of the 66 total and 1 woman Minister out of 18 ministries while 3 women Vice-Ministers make up out of 19 total Vice-Ministers and 1 Director General (DG) out of 18 DGs in Puntland.