Puntland women tackle security and rule of law

October 11, 2011

Women suffer most in conflicts. As direct victims, they suffer a myriad of gender based violence. As the head of households, they are the ones left behind to manage the emotional and economic impact of the loss of male members of the family.

While women in Puntland deal with the damaging consequences of violent conflict, they have traditionally been excluded from the policy debate.

One of the goals for women in Puntland is to have a comprehensive security sector policy that is both run and sanctioned by women.

Interpeace local partner, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), is working to enable women in Puntland to do just this: become an integral part of the development and implementation of Puntland’s security and rule of law policies. Part of an ambitious and achievable programme, the work is aimed at improving women’s standing in Puntland society.

‚ÄúWomen have an important role in the future of Puntland and it is important that their voices are heard and their advice is acted upon.‚ÄĚ

The main goals of the programme include:

  • improving women‚Äôs socio-economic status, which is currently weak;
  • gradually removing the socio-cultural discriminatory practices regarding women‚Äôs participation in the field of security;
  • greatly reducing violence and sexual harassment against women at all levels of society; involving women in the implementation of the security policies, such as serving as police women and security personnel; and
  • the involvement of women in the management of pressure groups.

‚ÄúOne of the basic objectives of establishing a comprehensive security sector policy in Puntland is integrating gender into security issues and the rule of law‚ÄĚ states Abdurahman Abdulle Osman (Shuke),¬†¬†Director of PDRC.

Shuke explains: ‚ÄúIntegration starts at a fundamental level, by answering the basic questions such as: How is security defined by people? Whose security are we talking about? Who should legitimately participate in the decision making within the security sector? Why are women not involved? How are they affected by the decisions made by the decision makers? How can the security sector play a role in changing negative gender stereotypes and cultures of violence?‚ÄĚ

Over the last two weeks, businesswomen, housewives, female students and representatives of women’s organizations have been joining the Security and Rule of Law team from PDRC and the Steering Committee. A total of 60 (20 in each) women have participated in Garowe, Galkayo and Bosaso meetings.

Research continues as the PRDC teams are also currently conducting female specific focus groups in Bosaso. Five groups will be held in total and the insights and recommendations Рthe outcome Рwill be incorporated into the planning of the new security policy.

‚ÄúWomen have an important role in the future of Puntland and it is important that their voices are heard and their advice is acted upon,‚Ä̬† confirms Shuke.