Throughout history, women around the globe faced discrimination against men and were inferior and had no basic rights. Women were subjected to men as they were their properties. After many years of discrimination and hatred towards women, men and women started to stand up for women’s rights. During the 19th century, many women’s rights movements emerged in Europe and America.
After these movements, Feminism came into existence and was spreading quickly around the globe, especially in the West. During the 20th and 21st centuries, there were several serious waves. The first wave’s main objective was for women to gain suffrage and political equality.
The second wave’s one was to address social and cultural inequalities, whilst the third wave’s focus was financial, social, and cultural inequalities and also a greater influence for women in politics and media. All these serious waves were the results of oppression against women.
After years of movements and waves, the West made some progress in women’s rights. Women were allowed to hold public offices, they now have equal opportunities like men, they have the right to learn, work, and earn, and so many rights.
After the so-called emancipation of women, the ideology of Feminsm and women’s rights was transferred to other non-Western countries and societies. Feminism became a global ideology that on some occasions dominated global debates.
But Feminism didn’t succeed as it had in the West, the reason is ( as I mentioned in other writings ) Western problems are different from the rest, solutions that have solved Western problems had not and will not solve other’s problems.
In Somalia, people ( especially women ) who claim to be feminists, are starting to appear. Somali women do face some problems and are needed to be addressed but, these people carry with them solutions that are not compatible at all with the Somali people.
Another issue is that the problems many people claim that Somali women face are not true, these are problems that Western women used to face or problems other women currently face, these are problems that the media repeats and are automatically placed on the Somali women. This is one of the reasons why such problems are not solved, as it distracts us from reality.
The Somali society is an egalitarian society, one of the highest when it comes to freedom and equality between men and women. This is something that you won’t see on international indexes, but it is the fact. In education, there is no single differentiation between boys and girls, the same efforts are spent on both. If you go to any educational institution, schools, or universities, whether religious or secular, girls outnumber boys.
When it comes to studying abroad, girls are not prevented from their families to leave the country and study. There is even a popular quote among the Somali’s that says ‘’ GABAR WAX BARATAY WAA BULSHO WAX BARATAY’’ which means ‘’ an educated girl is like an educated society’’ this shows how educating girls is important among the Somali’s.
In business, Somali women also outnumber men. They have the freedom to start a business and could earn their own wealth and property, neither they are prevented from their families or their husbands. Women are the drivers and backbone of the Somali economy, the Somalis nature of freedom and equality allowed them to be so.
Many myths are widespread among the people about women in Somalia. You will always hear that in Somalia women lack their rights and have low or no status in society. These are all false claims that people need to understand. In my personal view, I think the women in Somalia face one major problem that I will talk about now.
FGM ( Female Genital Mutilation ), an ancient Northeastern African practice that has no ties or relations with the Islamic practice or tradition. In Islamic tradition, there is another practice that is similar, but different, it’s called ‘’ Sunni’’, it is totally different from FMG which is called ‘’ Fir’ooni’’.
The Sunni is carried out by not cutting, but by piercing a little part of the girl’s genitalia, which will not bring any damage nor pain to the girl in the present or the future. Whilst the Fir’ooni is cutting some parts or all of the genitalia of the girl which is FGM. The Sunni is not obligatory, but rather it’s optional, people are allowed to practice it or leave it.
This practice is the biggest obstacle some women face. This used to be very popular among the Somali’s, but now thanks to Islamic scholars and advocators for raising public awareness towards FGM, the number that practice it had decreased. FGM is no longer carried out in major cities and towns, it only still remains in rural villages. To totally eradicate this disease, raising public awareness and introducing legislation that prohibits the practice is much needed.