Female Teachers in Somalia: challenges and avenues for opportunities

I have been working on gender in (higher) education the past 8 years in Puntland, 5 of those with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. In the past 2 years i have been working with a research institute in Somalia and our collaboration has led to the production of some important research study reports which are all online http://www.sidrainstitute.org including a report on gender in higher education in Puntland.

Below are two videos – one on female lecturers and the other on gender in higher education in Puntland and they both shed light on the complexity of the issues i have tried to address.



Other reports of research studies i have conducted and authored can be found below, click on the titles to be taken to the actual report;

  1. Women and Value Chains Study in Puntland (With Diakonia)
  2. EU Somalia Gender Analysis Study (With the European Union)
  3. Women’s Political Participation in Puntland, Somalia (With UNDP Somalia)
  4. Female Police Officers in Somalia Study (With UN Women)
  5. Somali Women and Gender Issues in Higher Education (With INASP)
  6. Women’s Political Movements in Somalia 
  7. Women’s Role in Peace building, Conflict Prevention and Reconciliation (with UNSOM) 


Globally, increasing the number of female teachers in schools is often cited as a major strategy for promoting girls’ education, especially in developing countries.

However in Somalia, the lack of maternity leave and breastfeeding hours, sexism and gender discrimination at the work space, low pay relative to other trained professions, lack of training, low public perception of the ability for female teachers to teach well make it difficult to fill and maintain teaching positions.


Recruiting and retaining female teachers in Somalia presents a unique set of challenges; under-representation of women in leadership positions, safety concerns, patriarchal family relations that make relocation difficult, unbalanced family responsibilities for women that make outside or additional employment challenging.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges female teachers face has to do with stereotypes. The education sector in Puntland is dominated by men. The reality is that many schools in Puntland have relatively few females in the teaching force. For example, there is not a single female Head Teacher in any of the schools and there are also very few secondary school teachers. School management is run entirely by males only. This is impacting on the quality of female students in classrooms.


Female teachers in schools in Somalia lead to a significant higher enrollment and retention rates for girls. Female teachers make a difference in girls’ education. The presence of female teachers in class rooms and in schools allow Somali girls to have more positive educational experiences, and even mitigate cultural and social barriers that keep girls out of school. Girls reported that having more positive female role models in school would more likely make them stay in school.

One way that females make a difference for girls is in their ability to act as role models. School girls face biases in the classroom and often lack female teachers as role models. Female teachers are less likely to have gender biases against girls.

  1. What is the situation for female teachers in Somalia?
  2. What are they teaching? Where? How long?
  3. What are the biggest challenges female teachers faces in Somalia?
  4. What are avenues for opportunities/strategic interventions?
  5. What measures have the Ministry of Education undertaken to deal with these issues?
  6. What interventions are working and what is not working and why?
  7. What are female teachers themselves saying? How are they organizing themselves to affect change?
  8. What measure have female teachers taken to address the issues affecting them?


Sahro Ahmed Koshin

Email: sahro.m@gmail.com
Whatsapp: +252-90-7795746
Twitter: @Sahro

Skype: sahroahmed


Girls are encouraged to stay silent, look down and cover mouth in schools.


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