UN Somalia commemorates International Women’s Day

13 Mar 2024

UN Somalia commemorates International Women’s Day

Mogadishu - The United Nations in Somalia commemorated International Women’s Day this year by underlining the importance of investing in women to foster inclusive societies.

At an event to mark the day, the UN acknowledged the resilience and accomplishments of women, raised awareness about gender discrimination, and advocated for investing in women and girls for progress towards gender equality.

The event, attended by staff members from various UN entities, revolved around the global theme for the commemorations: “Invest in Women; Accelerate Progress.”

The UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Raisedon Zenenga, acknowledged the country’s positive trajectory and stressed the importance of supporting the empowerment of women and girls.

“Somalia’s advancement presents an opportunity to increase investment in women and fully harness their potential. It's crucial to remember that investing in women is fundamental to constructing inclusive societies,” stated the UN Deputy Special Representative.

DSRSG Zenenga emphasized the significant role women play in peacebuilding and reconciliation and urged concerted efforts to achieve the 30 percent quota for women in parliament and district councils.

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He also pledged the UN’s commitment to advocating for gender equality and supporting the creation of an inclusive society for women in Somalia.

The Officer in Charge of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), and Director Mission Support; Ms. Qurat Ul-Ain Sadozai, shared UN initiatives focused on investing in Somali women.

These initiatives include implementing a gender action plan, training gender focal points, investing in a conducive work environment for women, and celebrating female role models at the workplace. Ms. Sadozai also emphasized the establishment of Nursing Lounge and the Women’s Wellness Center to create a conducive environment in the mission.

Said Ms. Sadozai; “We are investing in Somali women, including through capacity building initiatives. This is a key priority as we are here for the Somali people to promote progress, peace, and stability.” Ms. Sadozai highlighted the work being done in the Aviation where UNSOS has taken an innovative approach and engaged women from the Mogadishu College of Aviation as students who are being provided on-job-training. Ms. Sadozai further recognized and praised the inspiring interaction with Ms. Habiba Abdirahman Wehlie, an impressive young Somali woman, who engaged with her as part of the ‘shadowing’ initiative that was undertaken as a lead up to the International Women’s Day.

She reiterated the words of the Secretary - General’s on International Women's Day “Our world still reflects millennia of male-dominated power relations. And progress is under attack...” there is an urgent need to move faster. It is imperative to invest in women, indeed, accelerate progress.

The UN Women Country Programme Manager for Somalia, Syed Sadiq, noted that globally, women and girls, bear a disproportionate impact from war, gender-based violence and climate change-related disasters. According to recent data, financial investment in women remains alarmingly low. An additional $360 billion annually is needed to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“In Somalia, 80 percent of those displaced are women and children, thereby the need for focused attention, higher investments and support for women and girls,” said Dr. Syed.

As part of activities to mark the day, the UN in Somalia also organised the ‘Girls Take Over’ project, where young Somali women interacted with UN leaders to inspire them to become leaders and agents of change in their communities  In addition, the UNFPA Somali Youth Fellowship program (SOYO) showcased an art exhibition that displayed data in a story format: “My data My story, “a case in time that displayed statistics of Somali women in pictures, such as “ 1 in 20 Somali women are expected to die from pregnancy -related causes”.



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