Prosperity is hard to come by unless women are fully involved in every endeavor. In view of this, Ethiopia has been working rigorously over the last decades to help women unleash their talents in the national efforts of bringing about all-round development.
The journey has, however, been long and arduous. It all began from the scratch. Of course, one may argue that women had an important place in Ethiopia’s modern history, though exceptional cases. To mention, Empress Taytu Butul (wife of Menelik II), a prominent figure for her leadership craft and military strategy), and Empress Zewditu Menelik II made it to the helm of political leadership. But generally speaking, women of the country had been sidelined from major socio-economic and political involvement.
The all-around development efforts of the country had also been affected as a result.
Over the last three years, major steps taken by the government have made women play decisive roles in the country’s overall endeavors. The assignment of apolitical female personality as chief of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia as well as the appointment of another female as Head of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, not to mention the female Head of State, speak volumes. Women have taken their fair shares in the cabinet, legislature, and the like in today’s Ethiopia.
Are these efforts enough? This is a fundamental question that one must ask. There is a quick answer to it. Not at all.
The origin of inequality of any sort is a distorted mindset. The wrong mindset towards the potential of women has been held for too long among generations. And one or two generations would not do away with it at ease. Hence, it requires a lot of resources to nurture the right mindset about it. It demands us to see into our cultural fabric to understand how to perpetually heal the ills.
There is no doubting that we have, as Ethiopians or as Africans, our own value systems. And as we cross the cultural boundaries from one to the next, we can trace amazing values that our society attaches to women. Such constructive traits that existed for ages among the society should be unearthed and put to play to improve the lives of women that are regarded as half the society.
In addition to the human rights aspect that must be respected when it comes to women, the issue goes far beyond this. The full participation of women is a question of survival as a society. As they say it: “educating women is educating the society,” unless women and girls are empowered in every way, our future cannot be promising, and we cannot be parted with poverty and backwardness and the aspired prosperity will not come to fruition.
For this to become a reality, educational institutions, CSOs, the media and other similar entities have the responsibility to look into the challenges women are facing in today’s Ethiopia and must show the right directions to make the future Ethiopia better protect the rights and interests of women.
The March 8/2022