MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, is a global day held on 8 March every year to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women throughout history and across nations.
This year the United Nations is calling for action to end violence against women and girls, using concerts, seminars and song releases to raise awareness. Violence against women is universal, and is prevalent in all countries and all settings. The IWD aims to create institutional awareness and assist nations worldwide to eliminate discrimination against women and focuses on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development.
This year we celebrate great strides in empowering Somali women, particularly following the selection of 35 female legislators in the nation’s new Parliament (15% of the allocated quota). At the same time, we must not forget those women who remain powerless in Somalia and those who are subjected to violence and discrimination. Violence against women is still a reality in Somalia; it is imperative that all allegations of sexual violence and violence against women are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice.
Women, traditionally marginalised in Somalia, are a tremendous source of energy, creativity, determination and courage. Preventing women from fully enjoying their political and civil rights is a serious discrimination and a violation of their rights. The fact that women still continue to suffer in Somalia and have restricted access to decision making process is not only a violation of human rights but also a lost opportunity for them as partners in developing Somalia. Somali women have clearly demonstrated their potential in participating, resolving conflict, building and bringing prosperity to the nation. This natural resource must be fully tapped in the new Somalia.
It is a new era in Somali politics. There is now a chance for the women of Somalia to make their mark and influence the rehabilitation and transformation of their nation. As the Government undertakes a review of the Provisional Constitution, there is another golden opportunity to increase the female profile by fulfilling the commitment of a 30% quota of women’s representation in Parliament to enable them to participate in state-building and representation in political institutions. With this, I wish to congratulate all Somali women and girls for their tireless efforts and wish them a peaceful and fruitful International Women’s Day.