Mogadishu, March 8, 2018 (Xinhua/NAN) The UN senior envoy in Somalia on Thursday praised the role of Somali women in promoting a more inclusive and equitable Somali society.
Michael Keating, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, also congratulated Somali women for achieving significant progress in recent years, especially in the political and economic affairs of the country.
“Women kept Somali families together during their country’s long years of chaos and armed conflict,” Keating said in a statement issued in Mogadishu to mark the International Women’s Day.
The theme for this year’s observance is: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”
During the 2016 electoral process, Keating said, Somali women made history when female candidates won 24 per cent of the seats in the federal parliament.
However, the UN envoy warned that women and girls still face widespread discrimination and numerous obstacles to their professional and educational advancement.
He said these challenges must be addressed and overcome through vigorous legislation, government policies and effective programmes.
“Increased participation of Somali women in decision-making and leadership positions is essential,” said Keating.
An estimated 98 per cent of all Somali women and girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation, according to the UN.
“Sexual and gender-based violence is a harsh reality for millions of women across the country, and young Somali women have far less access to resources and opportunities than their male counterparts,” said the UN.
Keating called for empowerment of women which he said continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges in Somalia and around the world.
In Dubai, a senior official of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday said that empowering women would harmonise the conservative nature of the Emirati society.
Anwar Al-Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, made the statement in a tweet on his Twitter account.
The tweet came on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on Thursday.
Al-Gargash, whose Twitter account has 675,000 followers, added that the UAE’s experience in empowering women was meant to underline its ambition “to activate the role of women in various aspects of modern life.”
The UAE cabinet currently has nine female ministers and ministers of state, representing 30 per cent of the government’s members. (Xinhua/NAN)
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