Somalia has the opportunity to fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and end child marriage, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women).

Mlambo-Ngcuka told the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Thursday that the Horn of Africa country also had a once-in-a-generation chance to establish lasting peace and gender equality as the country had made great strides in working towards gender equality.

This included an improvement in the representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 percent of seats in the most recent elections.

This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.

She said it had brought to the centre the fight to end child marriage, end FGM and change laws that discriminate against women, noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.

She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.

-  African News Agency (ANA)