Strengthening Gender Equality in Decision-making in Somaliland

4th February 2021
Author: Becky Carter

This rapid review searched for literature on how and why women continue to struggle in Somaliland to achieve formal political representation and to take on informal decision-making roles on local peace and political matters, from community to national levels. Women’s participation in peacebuilding and political decision-making in Somaliland is very limited. A key barrier is the clan system underpinning Somaliland’s political settlement. Entrenched and politicised, patriarchal clans exclude women (and other minority groups) from formal and customary leadership and decision-making roles. Other contributing factors are conservative religious attitudes and traditional gender norms. Structural inequalities – such as low levels of education, lack of funds, and high levels of violence towards women and girls – impede women’s participation. Some women are more disempowered than others, such as women from minority clans and internally displaced women. However, there is increasing disillusionment with clan politicisation and a growing recognition of women’s value. There are opportunities for framing gender equality in local cultural and religious terms and supporting grassroots activism.

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Suggested Citation

Carter, B. (2021). Strengthening gender equality in decision-making in Somaliland. K4D Helpdesk Report 947. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.078


4th February 2021


Continent: Africa

Country: Somalia