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Women's Participation in Government and Business Leadership

Women are the backbone of every nation. They are the glue that holds and binds the nation. They are the one who usually takes care of the families no matter what or how painful and difficult it is. They sacrifice their lives and everything on their capability for the sake of helping their families.

Ever since the collapse of the central government in late 1990s, Somali women have been involved in mitigating conflicts between the societies. They always act like a bridge between the conflicted parts, they mitigate conflicts, prepare meeting venues, prepare food & drinks and everything necessary to make that meeting successful. They carry peace rallies and bring people together. Their position within the clan system gives them the ability to bridge clan divisions and to act as a first channel for dialogue between parties in conflict. Few of women’s initiatives for peace have been documented as nobody took them seriously until agreements had been reached. Many women peace activists have found the struggle for peace inextricably linked to that for women’s rights.

I have been working in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution for years and I have seen what women are actually capable of doing. The devastating part is that they sacrifice everything to mitigate and mobilize the conflicted parts to have peace talks yet they are never included in the decision-making forums where peace accords are negotiated. One of the reasons been claimed is that woman’s affiliations with the clan of her father, mother, husband, children and son-in-law, mean that a woman’s clan loyalty is perceived as unpredictable.

Women own most of the small enterprises. They also own or have shares in some of the large enterprises. They have been the sole breadwinners for over two decades and have taken care of families in the midst of chaos and terror. They funded peace talks and contributed to the meetings financially.

When women are mobilized and empowered, they can work wonders. They can be good leaders because mostly women are more honest than men. Women are more dedicated to whatever they intend to do. Usually women are on the forefront of every mediation. They go to the war zone, sometimes they go to places where cant go or have access to it. Men should accept that women are their other half. Also men should respect women, encourage them and always stand beside them.

In Somalia, civil society organizations led by women have achieved much in the past two decades. They have helped disempower the warlords and reduced the significance of clan affiliation. They have ensured civil society representation which is essential to any peace and reconciliation process. Somali women made progress on their participation in politics. But Somali women still face constraints in breaking through gender based inequalities and cultural and practical barriers to equal political participation.

They need to be listened, to be included in the decision making committees, they need to hold positions within the government, and their voices and ideas should matter to reach a sustainable development. Women’s perspective and experience should matter in creating an everlasting peace and stability in every country.

I recommend that women’s present in the governmental seats and business leadership should be improved. As long their efforts go unrecognized, countries will suffer and we cant reach sustainable development and peace. I hope the leaders who are meeting at Rio+20 will enhance the support of women worldwide.

Marian Hassan
Puntland, Somalia


Sushma Khandelwal's picture

born to be leaders

I agree with you, women are born to be leaders, they should be given a bigger role. Its diffcult to mathc their management skills even with the students of the top colleges as they aare in born with these qualities. Any household or a nation which has no respect for woman can progress.Women are so skilled they have solution to all problems, they are strong biologically and mentally but physically they are weaker for which men have been taking advantages for years together. The time has come when woman all over the world has to come together to bring the change.I as a woman have have suffered throughout my life in different ways.


jadefrank's picture

Taking your voice to Rio+20!

Dearest Marian,

I was very moved by your story and call for women's inclusion in political and economic leadership roles.

Thank you for participating in our Rio+20 initiative and courageously sharing your voice. Your story and recommendations are en route to Rio de Janeiro with our partners at WEDO, and will be presented at the conference to ensure grassroots women's perspectives are included at the negotiating table. Our editorial team is working on an E-magazine for publication next Wednesday which you will receive in your inbox, highlighted selected pieces from our Rio+20 initiative. We will keep you updated on the outcomes of the conference and how you can stay involved as a vocal leader for you communities on these issues.

I encourage you to read the stories of your fellow PulseWire sisters and engage in conversation to share experiences, ideas, and best practices for addressing sustainable development issues in your communities.

In friendship and solidarity,

ikirimat's picture

Listen to Us, Include Us !!

I think the solution you present is so powerful sister. Women are key in decision making position if appropriate decisions on climate change solutions are to be identified. Rio 20 should listen to this advise.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

judithochola1's picture

Re: Greetings from Kenya

Yeah! Women have been in the Forefront steering leadership programs and at the same time assuming domestic responsibility yet are ignored when it comes to key issues. I hope someone will hear our voice out there.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
- Helen Keller


Pushpa Achanta's picture

Powerful piece

Dear Ruun,

Thank you for this honest writing. May your work also inspire the grassroots women leaders.

Warmth and love,

Taz's picture


Thanks a lot for sharing this positive and uplifting story of Somali women's contribution to peace building and community leadership. These are the positive stories we need from Somalia that speak of hope for the country! Enough of the war-focused news in the mainstream media!

Best wishes to you and your community, and especially to all the women leaders present and future!


purevision's picture

Women are Essential

It's so important that women are included in all facets of decision-making, especially with regard to peace initiatives. It makes no sense to exclude half the population of the world and the wisdom they have to offer. When women are respected and included as leaders they always prove to be a valuable part of the process.

All the best with your work.


amiesissoho's picture

Thanks for the reminder.

Thanks for the reminder. There is need to pull the energies together and demand the right to political participation. It will not be given on a sustainable manner.


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