By Kampala Post Reporter
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) for Somalia, Michael Keating, praised the vital contribution of Somali women in promoting peace and holding families together during an event held on Thursday at Somali National University to mark International Women’s Day.
“If anyone doubts the importance of the role of women, just look at the role that you women and your mothers, and your sisters, and your grandmothers have played in holding families together, in holding communities together, in fighting for peace, in maintaining the ability of Somalis to cope during 20, 30 years of conflict,” Mr. Keating told a gathering of students and faculty members.
Mr. Keating welcomed the growing numbers of women who are participating in Somali politics and pursuing university education. But he also noted that Somali women continue to face many obstacles preventing them from achieving full gender equality.
“Even though progress is being made and the role of women is being acknowledged, we have a very long way to go here in Somalia,” he said.
The Rector of the Somali National University, Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, echoed the UN envoy’s remarks and hailed the many achievements of Somali women in the years following the collapse of the country’s government in 1991.
“We knew this when the country descended into civil war,” said Mr. Jimale. “The Somali woman is like a full moon, and nobody can hide the full moon with his hand.”
The dean of the university’s education faculty, Fawzia Warsame, said Somali women may hold different views on some issues but they share strong bonds of patriotism.
“Somali women have different intelligence, education, development, experience and personalities. But they are united to develop Somalia, to stand for the nation, and to serve,” Ms. Warsame added.
Economics student Sulekha Muhidin Ibrahim highlighted the contribution of Somali women towards the reconstruction of their country.
“I want to emphasize the role of women in every aspect. They play a good role in development. I want the world to know girls are the backbone of development and peace,” Sulekha said.
The theme for the observance of this year’s International Women’s Day was “Time is now: rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”
International Women’s Day was adopted as an official United Nations day in 1975.