Gender equality and social inclusion


Gender equality and women's empowerment are among the major challenges facing Somalia. The country ranks 4th last on the UNDP Gender Inequality Index with a score of 0.776 (where the maximum score of 1 denotes complete inequality). 

Somalia has long been a patriarchal society, where men hold most of the power and women face significant discrimination and gender-based violence. While progress has been made in recent years towards promoting gender equality, significant challenges remain. Women face barriers to accessing education, employment, and political participation. In terms of political representation, for example, women are severely underrepresented in the country's government and decision-making bodies. Despite a commitment to a 30% quota for women in the 11th Parliamentary elections (2021-2022), the representation of women in the House of the People remains low at around 20%, which is lower than the figure of 24% in 2016.

UNDP is tackling some of the most recurrent aspects of discrimination through its work on policy and advocacy and well as direct support to women in key areas such as politics and the media. We provide assistance to women’s mobilisation and networking efforts, technical support for mainstreaming gender into development planning and budgeting and financial assistance to women pursuing qualifications in the justice sector. UNDP has also set up programmes to reduce conflict and violence against women, established one-stop centres for women victims of abuse, and supports women’s economic empowerment, including in IDP camps and host communities, through training and grants.

In addition, considerations of gender are mainstreamed throughout all our work in our key thematic areas of Effective Governance, Inclusive Politics and Reconciliation; Security, Rule of Law and Access to Justice; and Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Inclusive Economic Growth.

To achieve gender equality and reduce discrimination, we work with a range of partners including government offices at the Federal and Member State levels, NGOs, INGOs, multilateral agencies, civil society organizations, academia, media, the private sector and other UN agencies.

Key achievements in 2022

  • Over 62,000 households, more than 95% of them women-headed, have gained access to water, directly benefiting over 434,000 family members as a result of UNDP’s gender-responsive programming and interventions 

  • 500,000 people, 75% of them women and children, have gained access to cleaner, healthier, and affordable sources of energy such as solar and wind energy and improved cookstoves

  • Over 1,200 women government officials at state and municipality levels have been trained on disaster risk reduction, environment & water management 

  • Federal Government and Federal Member States have developed legislations for effective governance of the activities of law enforcement agencies, such as the police, in line with international standards, including on rights of women and minority groups 

  • More than 1,600 women have benefitted from alternative dispute resolution and mobile court services 

  • 296 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence received medical, legal, and psycho-social support from one-stop referral centers 

  • Increased participation of grassroots initiatives and women-led CSOs and networks in community-level political and peacebuilding processes has aided inclusive processes and knowledge exchange, which are crucial for durable peacebuilding

  • Federal government successfully completed indirect elections in April 2022 with UNDP technical support.