“Unbelievable! Amina Elmi Farid garners thunderous applause as she breaks barriers to become Northern Somalia’s inaugural female Member of Parliament.”

A historic moment was witness by Somalilanders on Saturday as Amina Elmi Farid, their maiden female parliamentarian, was welcomed with a thunderous standing ovation. This momentous development follows a backlash from women’s rights groups, two years ago when the parliament comprised purely of male legislators.

Amina, a former investment Minister, lost in the May 31, 2021, election. Her fortunes, however, took a turn for the better as she was picked to replace the late Nor Osman Guled, an Awdal region representative and fellow party member from the UCID party. Despite having come second in the region’s vote tally, Amina didn’t hesitate to relinquish her ministerial role to accept the new appointment.

“While being a Minister is a highly coveted position due to its political leverage, it’s the parliament that holds sway in the making of laws. My ambition is to dismantle all systemic barriers that hindered my entry into this assembly so that those who come after me, especially women and youths, can do so without the same impediments”, Amina ascertained during a BBC Somali interview.

Amina’s appointment to the House of Representatives can be lauded as a step in the right direction, but it is not enough to attain a gender balance in such spaces. Nevertheless, her unique perspectives are bound to reinvigorate and add dynamism to the assembly’s deliberations.

The first female MP in Northern Somalia, Amina Elmi Fared, was elected in a by-election last weekend to represent Awdal Region. https://t.co/v4ClcxXZej

— Somali Update (@Somaliupdate) May 17, 2023

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