Women’s rights groups, prominent businesswomen and female politicians in Somalia are urging the country’s male-dominated parliament to pass a bill reserving 30% of seats for women in next year’s general election.
Women hold 24% of the 329 seats in Somalia’s lower and upper houses of parliament, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), up from 14% in the previous election.
In June, Somalia’s lower house approved a bill allowing for 30% of parliamentary seats to be reserved for women, but the bill has not been tabled before the upper house for approval. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed did sign an agreement on with regional leaders in September which included the 30% quota – but women’s rights campaigners said this was not good enough.
“We want this commitment on reserving 30% seats for women to be passed as legislation,” said Deqa Abdiqasim Salad, CEO of Hear Women, a charity working to strengthen the political voice of women in Somalia.
“We are happy to have achieved 24% in the current parliament, but legislation is necessary to ensure that we do not lose the seats we have and help strengthen democracy by providing for a more representative voice in policy-making.”
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