Women defending Peace Conference

Linked with Elmi Asha Hagi Amin – Somalia, with The Women Peacemakers Program WWP, with Somalia – profiles, facts and reports, with Save Somali Women and Children SSWC, and with Gender as a Tool in Building Peace.

About the Sixth Clan – in Somalia, A Successful Case of Women Mobilizing for Peace.
Excerpt: … Finally, subject to successful solution of imminent challenges from within (women’s capacity) and out-side, the post-conference period makes an important opportunity in practicing the gains and furthering their effect and scope. It was last Friday (12th November 2004) that SSWC led the women delegates to the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss and acknowledge about women’s real concern to see gender-friendly cabinet and executive arrangement for the Somali government in the making. The struggle in the 2nd phase in being launched.

Opportunities

  • Somali women’s stake in peace building and decision-making transcends from traditional role of ululating and preparing feasts when their male counter-parts agreed a peace agreement to partners in decision-making at the highest level (see women’s role in the national peace process).
  • In the past, peace and political participation had been considered as a male domain and women were seen as intruders incase of any attempt. Things have changed in Somalia – as peace building is acquainted as a social responsibility for all-inclusive efforts by sons and daughters as well.
  • In the Transitional Federal Charter of Somalia, there is an affirmative action quota of 12% for women representation in the highest decision-making level: The Federal Parliament. Even the other endorsed national documents proved gender affinity. Therefore, women in public life is no more an alien phenomena.
  • Spirit and straight forward record (from 2000) for engendering peace and state-building process in Somalia.
  • Solidarity and exchange of information on gender rights discourses and development concerns at sub-regional (IGAD) and regional level. It is encouraging to know that we are not alone in the struggle for emancipation of women human rights.

Challenges

  • Low capacity and comprehension in peace building and conflict management and resolution.
  • Political opportunists bargaining at the expenses of women unity and spirit to attain selfish personal interest.
  • Vulnerability to clannish sentiments.
  • Targeting women prime-movers to frustrate successful culmination of the gender spirit in peace building.
  • How to sustain and nurture the hard won spirit and unity.
  • Lack of an adequate facilities and resources for constructive engagement to off-set the challenges.

Lessons Learnt

  • a) Low capacity and constellation in women‘s skills in peace building and leadership makes a major hindrance.
  • b) Static culture on patriarchal base and attitudes takes its toll.
  • c) Women are less-conversant with their own civil rights and unable to use leverage against cultural traits.
  • d) Financial constraints and lack of effective external solidarity.
  • e) Women can make a real difference in peace building, they have the will and commitment.
  • f) Women need to articulation of their gender issues and concerns in peace building with one voice is a must.

(Read the whole 6 pages on this site of The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces).

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