SOCOTU CALLS FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN EMPLOYMENT FOR WOMEN
The Somali Congress of Trade Unions (SOCOTU) women committee have called on the government and stakeholders to give equal opportunities to women in employment. In a discussion held to deliberate on the challenges women face in employment the committee has asked the government of Somalia to put in place measures to ensure that women are given equal chances in employment.
The discussion which was held in Hayat hotel in Mogadishu was attended by representatives from the national council of women, religious leaders, representatives from the chamber of commerce and industry and women professionals from Somali universities. The meeting was officially opened by SOCOTU chairman General brother Mohamed Osman Haji. The chairman in his remarks questioned why women can go and sell Khat in the market and are not given the chance to work in offices? He called on both the government and private sector to consider giving equal opportunities in employment to women. Mr Haji said, “ Provision of jobs should be based on merit not on gender. Why would you allow the girl to make tea for your office when she has the similar qualification to the boy who is the accountant or human resource manager? That culture should change”.
The meeting was aimed to answer the following questions:
- What is preventing women from accessing employment opportunities?
- Why are there less number of women employed in both public and private sector?
- What is the role of religious leaders in women employment?
- What is the role of government in ensuring that more women are employed?
- What is preventing women from promoting to higher position in their line of duty?
- How can we get equal opportunities in employment?
Sheikh Garuun a well-known scholar in the Somali community who was in the meeting mentioned that denying girls employment opportunities has no bases in Islam, he however mentioned that the only exemption is where the kind of job is contrary to Islamic teachings. The sheikh said, “There is no barrier for women to work in offices and get equal chances as men as long as the teachings of Islam are safeguarded”?
The Women who attended the conference gave details of the challenges they face in looking for jobs and mentioned that it was a nightmare for some of them to get promotions to higher positions in their line of work.
Finally the chairman general o f SOCOTU who closed the conference swore the union’s commitment to ensure that Somali women get equal employment opportunities as men.