Women and Girl Spaces in Somalia.
Many countries seek to define innovation and effective approaches to empower women. Space for Women is part of the main focus by government, International communities and relevant stakeholders to build women’s overall capacity and development needs in the society.
After boarding a bus today from the town, the first thing I realized was that the bus was full of youth, middle-aged and elderly women. You can’t imagine how noisy it was but the best thing was the smiles and confidence on this women’s faces while they discuss and argued about political issues and other personnel-related issues. Others gave their opinions freely and believe me you could see they really needed an opportunity like this to showcase their ability to analyse issues in the best way possible. Their arguments and suggestion were so professional you’d think they went to school and studied. The hegemonic femininity was also in play and this was striking because one could see different diversity aspects being performed in their own unique way. The truth is, women are the ones on the ground with all the problems and solutions. If only they would be given platform similar to what we had today on the bus, I am sure the country is moving in the right direction.
I was amazed and you can imagine the wide smile I had on my face. I had so many gender theories and aspects and concepts running through my mind over and over at that moment. It felt so nice, I just wished that they could read my mind. I wanted to just let it out and make them understand and see what is happening on the bus is so amazing and has an enormous meaning, result and impact if it would be done consistently. But no, I couldn’t because of the time and also because of the circumstance we were in. I wished I could say a word even though I knew some couldn’t understand immediately for they require a little more education and training on the subject matter.
Although the driver and the tout were young men. I imagine what if they were also females. How amazing would it be to have a bus 100% feminised! Believe me, the ladies would just relax, feel comfortable and free to discuss or say whatever they want. Just imagine!
I believe Somali people are in the progress of empowering more women, offer them space and allow women rights to participate in all social, economic and political aspects. Therefore, there is still room for improvement to see that women’s rights are claimed and exercise effectively.
In regards to the conceptual notion of space, we see that is gendered and highly politicized as a social resource in all societies. The feminized spaces are considered least important and some are still functioning through the benevolence of males. Therefore, women political movements, ideological, activist and structural spaces must remain women-only space.