UN lauds Somali women for peace contribution, anti-COVID-19 efforts

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The United Nations on Monday lauded Somali women for their huge contributions to peace and development as well as being on the frontlines to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu to mark International Women’s Day, which falls on Monday, the UN called for decisive action by Somali leaders to ensure gender equality and full participation of women in all spheres of life.

“Throughout the years, Somali women have played an extraordinary role in reconciliation, peacebuilding, and development,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan.

Swan said in his interactions with Somalis, they often tell him that women are the backbone of the Somali society.

“It is time for this to be recognized and translated into concrete actions and opportunities for Somali women to participate in political decision-making and enhance their leadership abilities,” the UN envoy said.

The world body also noted the tremendous efforts of Somali women who joined the national response efforts to keep families and communities safe as the country experiences a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While applauding women’s resilience, we should also remember that in Somalia and elsewhere in the world, the pandemic affects women and girls disproportionately, as they face increased economic uncertainty, violence, and insecurity,” Swan said.

He said more efforts need to be done in terms of prevention but also to ensure there are adequate services available for victims and survivors.

Ahead of Somalia’s upcoming elections, the world body urged all Somali stakeholders to honor the commitment made to implement the agreed 30 percent women’s quota when electing the representation for the Upper House and 11th Parliament.