On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021, the Delegation of the European Union to Somalia in partnership with LeadNow, a grassroots movement dedicated to increasing women’s participation in political and public office in Somalia, organised a TV panel discussion on the theme of “Somali women in political leadership”.
As the country gets ready for elections, the panel participants discussed the challenges and opportunities for Somali women to progress towards equality and access to political leadership, giving them a stronger voice in the stabilization efforts of their nation.
It was attended by the EU Ambassador to Somalia, Nicolas Berlanga-Martinez and hosted by Dr. Hodan Ali, Director of Durable Solutions Unit at the Banadir Regional Administration. The panel included a stellar group of women who are on the frontlines of advocating for women both in politics and in all aspects of life:
- Ruqia Botan, Director and co-founder of LeadNow!
- Halima Ismail, Chairperson of the National Independent Electoral Commission;
- Zainab Hassan, Executive Director of Somali Gender Equity Movement;
-Amina Ibrahim Hassan, District Councillors in Dinsoor.
The EU Ambassador to Somalia, Nicolas Berlanga-Martinez, welcomed the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of women. “Somali women are peace builders. Wherever I travel in Somalia, I meet strong women who do not fear to strive and claim their space in political leadership. The panel discussion has clearly shown the time has come for change. The EU will continue to support this fight for more female representation in public institutions and also for genuine gender equality.”
“Somali women are no longer going to be in passenger seats to Somalia’s political process in the hopes that the drivers will take the virtuous road. It is abundantly clear that our current drivers are taking us off a cliff. To achieve equality, peace and progress in Somalia, Somali women must be drivers of the national agenda,” added Ruqia Botan, Director and co-founder of LeadNow!.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s IWD festivities were much more muted and the panel discussion was virtual. The recorded panel discussion was broadcast on Universal TV. You can watch the full programme here.
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