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WOMEN AND MINORITIES ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO WINNING THEIR SEATS AT THE DECISION MAKING ARENAS IN SOMALILAND

In Somaliland women’s experience over the last twenty years has shown that one of the surest ways to increase women’s political participation and representation is the gender quota. Electoral gender quotas are defined as an equality policy measure, the aim of which is to rapidly change an undesired under-representation of women in the political institutions. The quota is also regarded as a key to promote women-friendly policies within other areas of women’s civil, social, and economic rights.

Building women’s and men’s equal participation in governance procedures is very important for sustaining inclusive and effective governance in Somaliland. As a developing society, it is crucial to recognize that women’s political influence will promote the growth of our nascent democratic institutions and improve our social wellbeing.

President, Muse Bihi Abdi and his cabinet approved to allocate electoral quotas for women and minorities for the upcoming parliamentary elections. However, this is subject to the approval of the Parliamentary Houses, namely the House of Representatives and House of Elders. Only then could this be legal and effective.

Minorities and women in Somaliland are hoping to finally have their voices heard and be included in the decision making process. This is the first government who proposes quotas for women and minorities. The proposal is to reserve 18 and 3 out of the 82 parliamentary seats for women and minorities respectively. However these quotas do not include the local councils.