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Mogadishu, June 23 (IANS) Streets in theSomali capital have been “no-go” areas forwomen drivers for the past 22 years because ofa ban imposed by Islamist militants on femalesfrom taking the driver’s seat. But things havenow changed.Following the ouster of the Al Shabaab militantgroup from Mogadishu and its peripheries, andbecause of the growing stability in the seasidecity, more women are hitting the roads in theircars, Xinhua reported.Faisa Harun is a worker in a local non-governmental organisation in Mogadishu. Shehas been driving to work for the past fewmonths, and says driving has been “liberating”for her and other women drivers.“I am really pleased that I can now drive to workand go places in Mogadishu in my car. This isempowering us and enabling us to move aroundthe city,” Harun told Xinhua.Somali women have always been able to driveand have not faced societal objections aswomen in some other countries do, but theoutbreak of the civil war in 1991 and thelawlessness that followed made it impossible forthem to drive safely.The Al Shabaab, who until 2011 ruled much ofsouthern and central Somalia including largeswathes of the capital Mogadishu, bannedwomen from driving.But the fortunes of women drivers havechanged, and the city is transforming as peacetakes hold.As the Somali capital starts to recover fromyears of lawlessness, streets are being lit withsolar-powered lights and renovation work isbeing carried out. Traffic police are back on theroads to help the flow of the ever growingnumber of vehicles.Aisha Dualeh, a young businesswomen, saidthat at first people were surprised to seewomen drivers and male motorists andpedestrians teased them, but things are slowlychanging.“For many who have not seen women behindthe wheels for so long it has become a surpriseto them and some even teased us on the roadbut Somali women are coming on board andtaking their rightful place as equal partners withmen in this country,” Dualeh said, as she droveto her newly-opened shop in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu, June 23 (IANS) Streets in the
Somali capital have been “no-go” areas for
women drivers for the past 22 years because of
a ban imposed by Islamist militants on females
from taking the driver’s seat. But things have
now changed.
Following the ouster of the Al Shabaab militant
group from Mogadishu and its peripheries, and
because of the growing stability in the seaside
city, more women are hitting the roads in their
cars, Xinhua reported.
Faisa Harun is a worker in a local non-
governmental organisation in Mogadishu. She
has been driving to work for the past few
months, and says driving has been “liberating”
for her and other women drivers.
“I am really pleased that I can now drive to work
and go places in Mogadishu in my car. This is
empowering us and enabling us to move around
the city,” Harun told Xinhua.
Somali women have always been able to drive
and have not faced societal objections as
women in some other countries do, but the
outbreak of the civil war in 1991 and the
lawlessness that followed made it impossible for
them to drive safely.
The Al Shabaab, who until 2011 ruled much of
southern and central Somalia including large
swathes of the capital Mogadishu, banned
women from driving.
But the fortunes of women drivers have
changed, and the city is transforming as peace
takes hold.
As the Somali capital starts to recover from
years of lawlessness, streets are being lit with
solar-powered lights and renovation work is
being carried out. Traffic police are back on the
roads to help the flow of the ever growing
number of vehicles.
Aisha Dualeh, a young businesswomen, said
that at first people were surprised to see
women drivers and male motorists and
pedestrians teased them, but things are slowly
changing.
“For many who have not seen women behind
the wheels for so long it has become a surprise
to them and some even teased us on the road
but Somali women are coming on board and
taking their rightful place as equal partners with
men in this country,” Dualeh said, as she drove
to her newly-opened shop in Mogadishu.

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