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Women’s political participation in Somaliland

Walls, M; (2013) Women’s political participation in Somaliland. In: Journeys from exclusion to inclusion: Marginalised women’s successes in overcoming political exclusion. (164 - 197). International IDEA: Stockholm, Sweden. Green open access

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While Somali tradition explicitly supports discursive decision-making, it consistently excludes women from decision-making processes. In making impressive strides towards establishing a durable representative democracy, Somaliland women have become increasingly vocal and active in calling for democratic institutions to be extended meaningfully to women. Women’s groups have succeeded in winning unprecedented inclusion, but not without obstacles. In response to these challenges, a number of women activists decided to form an ‘umbrella’ organization—the Nagaad network—dedicated to pooling the resources of the many small and fragmented groups pressing for greater women’s participation, and committed to collective advocacy and capacity building among member organizations. For many years Nagaad has been agitating for the introduction of a quota for women and ethnic minority groups in parliament. In what would be one of the single most significant steps in their battle for improved political participation for women, that quota is again on the agenda. The Somaliland President now has a female advisor on women’s affairs, and is has been actively reviewing a policy paper suggesting a 20 per cent quota for women in both the upper and lower houses of parliament. An attempt to introduce such a quota for local elections in 2012 failed at the final hurdle, but there is, again, hope for success; this time in the lower house of parliament. The approach used by Nagaad builds strongly on Somali discursive custom, with members holding meetings and conferences, and talking actively to individuals both within the political establishment and beyond. Traditionally, women have played an often vital role in peace building and reconciliation, shuttling between the clan of father and husband relaying messages that could not be safely carried by males. However, to date women have not been offered a formal say in political decision-making. This case study seeks to understand the approach used by Nagaad, and outlines the socio-cultural, legal and political contexts necessary to understanding the significance of the network’s work in Somaliland.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Women’s political participation in Somaliland
ISBN-13: 9789186565930
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.idea.int/publications/from-exclusion-to...
Language: English
Additional information: The electronic version of this publication is available under a Creative CommonsLicence Copyright (CCl) – Creative Commons Attribute-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Licence. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit the publication as well as to remix and adapt it, provided it is for non-commercial purposes, that you appropriately attribute the publication, and that you distribute it only under a licence identical to this one. For the full conditions of this CCl, see: <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/>
Keywords: somaliland, women, political participation, democracy, gender
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1417498

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