Somali women’s rights advocate speaks in Utah, no refugees attend

This woman is probably one of thousands of people from around the world who would make good and legitimate candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in Salt Lake City this week, Asha Hagi elmi Amin had this to say:

Asked what message she had for Somalis now living in Utah, Asha Hagi elmi Amin repeated a single word.

“Education, education, education,” she said, “especially the women.”

Education, Amin said, is the only way to freedom. Education, she said, brought her a national platform to advocate for women and for peace in war-torn Somalia.

Education, she said, will empower women, keep them from poverty and allow men and women alike to claim their human rights.

Read about the challenges she faced and what she accomplished.

Amin embraced the only undisputed identity she had left — her womanhood. In 1992 she co-founded “Save Somali Women and Children” and then later the Sixth Clan movement, which brought together women in cross-clan marriages.

The group successfully lobbied for a voice alongside the five male-dominated ruling clans in the country’s peace talks in 2000 and won a role for women in charting the country’s future.

Today, there are 33 women serving in Somalia’s parliament and the pronoun “she” has literally been incorporated in the country’s governing charter.

Amin’s peace efforts have brought her political and humanitarian recognition.

She credits her mother for wanting her daughters to be educated.

Amin said her mother, a polygamous wife, made the “uncommon” decision to send her three daughters to a Quaranic school. Cultural stigma prevalent then held that educated girls would not make good wives, she said.

“She was very ahead of her time,” said Amin, who raised four children in a “very happy” family with her husband, who traveled to Utah with her.

But, then here is the most telling line in the entire article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

None of the Somalian refugees now living in Utah attended.

I was reminded of this post from last year where Ft. Morgan, CO had a kind of ‘meet and greet’ with the Somalis but only the men attended.  Sounded to me like the men wanted to make sure the women didn’t come out in the world and find out what they are missing!

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