In conflict and post-conflict settings, the international community operates with a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, aiming among other things to increase women’s political participation. An underlying assumption is that increased participation leads to a more inclusive society and more sustainable peace. Experience from Somalia shows that debates on women’s roles in public
spheres are taking place irrespective of the UN WPS agenda, and that Somali
women have at least since the 1960s had leadership positions in government
and civil society. In the struggle over women’s public role as political and
civic leaders in Somalia, the women’s empowerment agenda from abroad has
both provided support to local actors as well as risked delegitimizing their
motivations and aims.