Gender balance

Somali elections: How women still fight for political space in African polls - Somalia | ReliefWeb

Original article in the Conversation by Stephanie Carver

Stephanie describes how the February 2017 Somali election delivered an increase in female representation from 14% to 25%. However, the electoral system relied on traditional leaders selecting members of an electoral college to choose representatives. In 2012, the traditional leaders directly selected representatives. 

In 2012, this quota system produced far less than the desired 30 percent of female MPs, with only 39 seats of the total 275 going to female candidates. That notwithstanding, Somalia chose to resurrect the same model in this year’s election, and it was supported by western states.

As presidential candidate Fadumo Dayib pointed out, while western governments called for greater gender equality, they supported a system that placed female politicians at the mercy of male clan elders.

If women are to play a central role in Somali politics, they will have to forge the path themselves. Indeed, the president’s electoral campaign platform made no mention of women’s issues.

In a country where domestic violence, rape and sexual assault are described as endemic there appears to be no strategy to tackle these issues in the national security policy outlined thus far.

This absence of gender sensitivity implies that women’s issues are not political issues. Yet without carving out a political space specifically for women, it will be difficult for them to champion key issues in any future campaign.

If truth be told, fostering the participation of women in the political sphere has faced a number of challenges in Somali elections.

Positive steps have been made but some of these challenges will only be overcome by the introduction of universal suffrage and a rethinking of the indirect election model.

Gender quota system needed in Somaliland

From Somaliland - there is one woman in the lower house of parliament and getting more women elected would require quotas at least, to overcome entrenched barriers. The article quotes Baar Saed Farah who is the only woman in Somaliland's 82-member Lower Chamber. Women are not permitted in the 82-member House of Elders in the Upper Chamber.

Baar Saed Farah spoke of efforts to reserve 30 seats for women at the upcoming elections in 2017:

‘Without a women's quota I don't think there will be any more women in parliament,’
‘In normal employment there is no differentiation between genders but when it comes to political participation it becomes very difficult for women because of a culture that favors men’. 
'Even women may not accept a woman running for election because they are so used to men making decisions'.

http://www.dw.com/en/muslim-womens-changing-dress-code-in-somaliland/a-19247382

Putting a woman forward as a candidate in regional Ghana

Promoting a female candidate in regional Ghana for the November 2016 election

The Bolgatanga branch of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in the Upper East Region, has endorsed Abdul Rahman Latifa as their parliamentary candidate to contest for the Bolgatanga Central constituency seat in the upcoming parliamentary election scheduled for November 7.
Mrs. Latifa is a 30 year old professional teacher. She teaches at the Yorogo Asogrobiisi Primary School and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in education at the University of Education, Winneba. The Upper East  regional chairman of the party,  Alhaji Baba Hussaini Ibrahim, called on all party supporters to throw their support behind Mrs. Latifa as she is the only woman who is contesting for the Bolgatanga central seat and to support her to win that seat for the CPP in the region.

See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/05/06/bolga-central-cpp-elects-female-parliamentary-candidate/#sthash.xXt0xnQk.dpuf