When it comes to Somali women in politics, it is not easy for a woman to achieve significant political success in this country. Since independence, Somali women have not achieved meaningful participation in the political system. Many Somali women have accustomed to these circumstances and have given up their ambition to be part of the country’s leadership. But there are few women who are struggling to achieve their political ambitions and serve their nation in elected public office.
Sadia Yasin was one of those women who did not give up. She has strived to achieve her seat at the table for a long time. Sa’dia has been in the political system for a while now and she has seen the system and the challenges women face through the different levels. She was one of the most vocal members of parliament in her first term as an MP, and she kept her parliament seat and was re-elected in the indirect elections held in Garowe during March 2022.
Before joining parliament, Sadia was one of those who went and settled in the diaspora, but she returned to the country to pursue a political career and serve her country. She was an advocate for human rights and civil society. In particular, Sa’dia spoke on behalf of the voiceless people in political and ethnic minorities in Somalia, particularly in Puntland. In addition to being a politician, Sa’dia is a mother.
In 2016, she became a member of parliament for the first time representing her community, and was one of a number of women who won seats in the lower house of parliament. Sadia has been active in the Parliament and she engaged in political debates on the floor of the parliament. Sadia was also one of the lawmakers who criticized and opposed the administration which left office in May 2022. She saw that much of the country’s laws had been violated and needed to be corrected and those responsible held accountable.
Five years after joining the parliament, Sadia’s belief was that she could be part of a positive change in the country. That is why she run again for her seat to be re-elected, and once again elected in an indirect election to represent her constituency in the parliament for another four years. Once re-elected, Sadia intended to run to be part of the leadership of the lower house, and her re-election gave her an opportunity to pursue her ambition as she was determined to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals.
On April 28, 2022, Sa’dia was elected to be the first deputy chairperson of the Somali Lower House of Parliament. This was historic since she became the first woman to be elected to a leadership position in either house of the Somali parliament. This was a new day filled with hope and jubilation, she was elected to be the first deputy Speaker of the lower house of parliament. She has received war congratulatory messages and prayers for her success in her new position.
Despite the duties and responsibilities bestowed on MP Sadia, the general public was happy, especially women who have been absent from the top positions in the country’s legislature forever. This meant a new page for the history of Somali women in politics, and it made a great and inspiring example to all with ambition and agenda to be engaged seriously in politics in order to represent and serve their communities at the decision-making tables of the country.
“After being congratulated, that I became the first woman to win this position. I remember there were and still are Somali women who have fought for the country and the people more than any male politician who occupied top leadership of the parliament for many years. I believe this and other leadership positions should have been held by women already.” She said.
Aside from the general challenges she shares with women politicians, Sadia faced challenges during her political journey and especially during her candidacy for this position. “Vying for this position has been very difficult for me. Many MPs were surprised when I told them I wanted their vote. Some of them saw me as a dreamer and told me, ‘If we give you our vote now, how far will it go?’
Sadia, who was elected by among the 275-member lower house of parliament believes that although she is a woman, she will serve the people equally, both men and women. “Men are my father, brother, sons, and relatives. I will never look at how they treat us as women. I will serve my people as equal ” she added.
Sadia strongly feels there is a huge need for women to be part of the country’s leadership, and she intends to play a role in getting more women to be part of the country’s decision-making process on behalf of society as a whole. Sa’dia’s plans to advocate in her new capacity for the needs of the communities and address the social injustices endured so long by large segments of the population especially minorities, which she has always advocated for.
In conclusion, MP Sadia, the first deputy speaker of the Somali parliament intends to continue her political career and contribute to the development of her country. Through her political career, MP Sa’dia has exhibited grit, fortitude, and commitment to her ambition and goal in politics. She sets a good lesson in the potential and possibility of achieving increased women’s political participation in Somalia.