The Effects of Indigenous Patriarchal Systems on Women’s Participation in Public Decision-Making in Conflict Settings: The Case of Somalia
Over the past two decades, women’s participation in the public sphere has increased significantly in Sub-Saharan African countries. Nonetheless, women’s participation in public decision-making in conflict settings remains limited. The Somali case is instructive here in that women in this war-torn country have traditionally been excluded from access to or participation in the public sphere. Despite local and international efforts aimed at enhancing women’s participation in public decision-making, especially in peace-building, Somali women are still not adequately involved in formal public decision-making in general and in peace-building in particular. Some studies point to links between the tribal-centred underpinnings of the recent political set-up in Somalia and barriers to Somali women’s participation in the public sphere. Using original micro-level data, this chapter investigates the impacts of patriarchal kin-based Somali traditional values on gender equality in the processes of finding a mechanism of transitional justice that can lead to equal peace. The data presented in this chapter point to strong support for Somali women’s public sphere participation as well as concerns about and strong belief in that the kin-based Somali customary law or xeer, without formal and informal interventions/amendments, would not facilitate women’s public sphere participation.
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