Ethiopian women participation in politics up but a lot needs to be done

Mahlet Fasil

Addis Abeba, December 19/2019– The number of Ethiopian women in the national legislative and executive branches has grown significantly since Ethiopia conducted its first parliamentary election in 1995. However a lot more needs to be done to make sure women are proportionally represented in political decision making.

This was highlighted at a daylong national conference under the theme: “Women’s Political Participation and Election in Ethiopia: Envisioning 2020 and Beyond for generation Equality.” The conference was organized by UN Women Ethiopia, in collaboration with Addis Abeba University’s Center for Human Rights.

“Women politicians face unique forms of online and offline attacks and deliberate actions to discourage their participation in politics. This reflects how patriarchal [our] society is in its functions,” said Daniel Bekele (PhD), Commissioner of Ethiopia Human Rights Commissioner, during his keynote speech. He also said that women face particular challenges in times of elections that seriously impact and discourage their participation.

According to UN women Ethiopia. after Ethiopia’s transition to a federal democratic republic in 1991, the share of seats held by women in parliament has climbed from under three percent in 1991 to 38 percent today. The gender gap in the cabinet has also been upped to 50 percent since Prime Minister came to office.

However the figures are not a match when it comes to women in leadership and strong presence in politics. “Ethiopian women constitute 51% of the country’s population and they represent more numbers than the proportion of all nations and religions. Questions should be asked as to why they [women] are not the mainstream considerations of elections and leadership positions,” said Dr. Sehin Teferra, Founder of Setaweet Movement, a movement working to create “a space for dialogue, research and activism by Ethiopian women and men.” Dr. Sehin presented a panel on women political participation.

“According to a 2019 report by world economic forum Ethiopia holds 16th place in world on women political participation” said Yelfigne Abegaz National program Coordinator, UN Women.

But for Dr. Sehin, bringing women to politics by itself is not the only thing that matter, but “the policies these women bring” and the actual implementations of these polices is.

Yelfigne said realizing such gaps, under its women in leadership and governance program UN women is collaborating with various entities to amplify a meaningful participation of women in decision making venues. Similar collaboration with the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) aimed to provide capacity building training for 151 women print and broadcasting media professionals including volunteer journalist from community radios participants came from public and private media houses across the country.

In 2017 UN women’s current program on women in leadership and governance supported women’s effective participation and equal representation in leadership and decision making. “It focuses on the national and regional legislative and executive branches while also seeking change in communities,” according to a document.

UN Women also collaborates nationally with the ministry of women, children and youth and regionally with Amhara regional state bureau of women, children and youth affairs. It also engages with the house of peoples representatives, particularly  the parliamentary women’s caucus and  parliamentary  standing committees and their counterparts at the regional level. Other partners include education institutions such as Addis Abeba University and Bahir Dar University the center for human rights and community organization.

Addis Standard.

1 COMMENT

  1. My previous call to our glorious women still stands. Unite and rebel but peacefully in doing so. Pester and nag the living daylight of every man out of every political office including the current ones. Get their wives on your side so the same treatment will await them at home. Get their grown up daughters on your side so they will drive them up the wall and out of the political offices they have monopolized since the Stone Age. You have to wrestle away the political leadership there because the fate of the country in on the balance. We men specialize more in how to make wars and send your children in harm’s way for this or that stupid reason. I start war with the other guy just because I don’t like him and we don’t see eye to eye. Just take a look at the war of 1998-2000 where more than 100,000 of your children were marched into the killing fields just not to come back to your motherly arms. That took place just because the two leaders did not like each other. They hated each other so bad that they did not care about the lives of your children meticulously crafted by The Lord Our Creator. They did not give a hoot to see you crying. All they preoccupied was on how to settle scores on the other guy. There should not be blinking in our eyes that we men glorify wars and the ‘arts’ of making wars!!! We burn captives while they are still in their huts with their entire families and let our best men of literature write poems and songs glorifying our savage acts. We men have made destructive wars our romance of the day and everyday of our lives. How about telling lies about it, you may ask? Don’t start me on that one. Our rap sheet on that one is a long one!!! We wrote the first book on that one!!! I don’t have to tell about that! And we blame you for everything that went not to our preference.

    News of such conference is music to my ears. This is one of countless reasons that prompted me to tell you that ‘The Good Lord Our Creator Has Been So Good To Me’!!! Praise The Lord To Let Me Live To Hear Such Exhilarating News!!! As Usual Here I Go Again!!! Go Get’em Tigress!!!!

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