Ethiopia women policy which published in 1993 were prepared well considering different aspect of women including their society`s life. The policy included condition of Ethiopian women, objectives of the policy, and strategies for the implementation of the policy.
Although women’s contribution to their households, food production and national economies is immense, it has not been translated into better access to resources or decision-making powers. As a result, women remained to be the poorest of the poor constituting 70% of the global poor (National report, 2004).
When we consider status of women from national report on 2004 it indicates that women represent only 7.6% of the House of People Representative (Parliament) and 12.9% of
State (Regional) Council. Adult literacy for women is 32% and net female
primary enrolment ratio is 27%, and is about 42% for males. Violence and
discrimination against women still common in the country. The country’s economic and
social development is also being harmfully threatened by HIV/AIDS. It is valued that 1.9
million people are present with HIV/AIDS and out of this number 1.1 million are women.
Maternal mortality is also high in the country creating 871 deaths per 100, lives.
The policy aimed to improve the level of income of women and facilitate their labor; Improve health and nutrition of mother and children, upgrade their education, facilitate favorable conditions for the formation of women’s associations so that women can solve their problems and this result woman to participate in the national development efforts on equal terms with men.
1.1. Objectives of policy review
? To analyze policy gaps and give necessary recommendation
? To look practicability of the policy
? To suggest alternative action points
2. Review of Women Policy Content
The FDRE Constitution of Ethiopia ensures that all fundamental rights granted are to be
interpreted in conformity with the principles of the signed conventions and declarations. The policy reflects the fact that women are both producers and procreators, as well as active participants in the social, political and cultural activities of their communities has enabled them to play an all-round role and their proportion in labor force in various economic sectors indicates that economic development is unthinkable without the participation of women.
Women’s share of the division of labor differs from place to place and from culture to culture, their average working day is believed to vary between 13 and 17 hours per In rural area women involved in farming activities tend to even work longer hours. Urban women engaged in labor-intensive activities that require little or no skill spend no less time. Women make a major contribution to the welfare of society, they are in a better position to promote and/or eliminate harmful traditional customs and practices of their localities.
We observed the policy content that Ethiopian Women policy had been formulated to focus on what the Government ought to do for women, and what women must do for themselves through their own free associations, as well as to show the relationship between the two.
Ethiopian Government has expressed its commitment to gender equity and equality by issuing a national Policy on Ethiopian Women. The policy, which was issued in 1993, has the following objectives:
? Facilitating conditions conductive to the speeding of equality between men and women so that women can participate in political, social and economic life of their country on equal terms with men and ensuring that their right to own property as well as their other human rights are respected and that they are not excluded from the enjoyment of their fruits of their labor or from performing public functions and being decision makers;
? Facilitating the necessary conditions whereby rural women can have access to basic social services and to ways and means of lightening their work load; and
? Eliminating step by step, prejudices as well as customary and other practices that are based on the idea of male supremacy and enabling women to hold public office and to participate in the decision making process at all levels.
The content of Ethiopian National policy of women supposed to ensure the full development and advancement of women and guaranteeing them the enjoyment of their democratic and human rights so that they can participate in the economic, social and political life of their country on equal basis with men, modifying or abolishing existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which aggravates discrimination against women and facilitating conditions conductive to their participation in the decision- making process at all levels.
In addition the policy intends to create a situation whereby society’s discriminatory attitude toward women and women’s complacence about it are eliminated through an elevated awareness by making sure that women participate in the formulation of government policies, laws, regulation programmers, plans and projects that directly or indirectly benefits and concern women.
The policy also propose strategy to encourage research work on ways and means of lightening the work- load of women as well as increasing their income and compiling the results and coordinating all government programmers that concern women and following up their implementation to make sure that they are free from duplication and that they do not involve unnecessary costs.
The policy approaches to incorporate women’s affairs into the government structure and entrusting a government body with it as well as establishing branches in all ministries and governmental organization and making sure that government policies, laws, regulations, plans and other activities are based on the following objectives;
• Ensuring that distinction on the basis sex is not made that a special attention is given to rural women in view of the fact that they face particular problems and shoulder a heavier burden;
• Ensuring that women are involved in the elaboration, implementation and decision-making process;
• Making sure that women participate in the fields of development activity and enjoy the benefits there of on an equal basis with men and guaranteeing them legal protection of the rights.
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3. Action plan of the policy
Action plan of the policy includes certain strategies and useful tools used for implementation of the policy that can facilitate intended result which related to women development which includes:-
? All appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure
– The democratic and human rights of women are respected.
– women are made beneficiaries on an equal basis with men of equal pay for equal work and of promotions, of appointments, of desirable transfers or termination of employment and of training;
– The right of women to work in the Civil service in any capacity they prove to be competent for,
– The right of women to the same retirement age and benefits as those of men and their right to an equal protection of the law and to a fair trial in a court of law.
? The Government shall facilitate conditions conductive to the participation of women in both the elaboration and decision-making process as regards to community developments, social welfare, division of land property, education and basic social services;
? The Government, with cooperation from the peoples of Ethiopia, shall facilitate conditions conductive to the informing and educating of concerned communities about such harmful practices as circumscion and the marriage of young girls before they reach puberty;
? The Government shall ensure to women the right to have easy access to basic health care facilities, information about traditional and modern family planning method.
? Maximum effort shall be made to eliminate, step by step, prejudices and customary practices based on the idea that women are inferior to men and to repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women;
? The necessary conditions where by women can have effective legal protection of their rights shall be facilitated;
? Women who have particular problems as a result of natural and man- made disasters shall be given special aid promptly;
? There shall, in all ministries and governmental organizations, be a Department of Women’s Affairs entrusted with the responsibility of organizing women and promoting their interests;
? Research shall be done on some ways and means of lightening the work- load of women, especially of those who live out in the rural areas; income generating projects, programmers’ or other schemes shall be streamlined to them and they shall, through vocational training be made to increase their technical proficiency and thus develop self-confidence;
? The necessary conditions where by women can obtain training and education shall be facilitated, for the development of their potentialities cannot be achieved only through the existence of structures and organization responsible for promoting their interests;
? Appropriate support shall be extended to all women’s associations formed with their initiative and full consent and those that will be formed in the future;
? The Government shall ensure that women are the beneficiaries of the aid that donor countries and international non-governmental organizations send to them and that the activities of donors are not duplicated as a result of the newly- found democracy and the freedom guaranteed in the New Economic policy but are instead coordinated;
? Conditions conductive to the mobilization of all manpower, technical and material resources of the country to the implementation of the policy shall be facilitated;
3.1. Policy implementation plan based on different institution
To implement women policy mentioned above; using different institution planned as follows.
Government Institutions Different tasks expected to be implemented
Bureau of Education ? Formulate education system which encourage female
? Introduce Gender class
? Make the Education Curriculum and System more gender sensitive
? Ensure Gender balance in the community training center
Bureau of Health ? Enhance maternal services
? Enhance family planning
? Promote more outreach services
? Train traditional birth attendants and community health against
? Promote health education
? • Gender balance in training for junior health workers
Bureau of Information, Culture and Tourism • Make a cultural policy
• Make a marriage law, and promote IEC regarding family law
• Create awareness against HTP
• Formulate anti-harmful Culture
• Facilitate gender information thorough newspapers, and other media.
Bureau of Labor and social Affairs – Safeguard the job security of women
– Ensure equal pay for equal job and promotion
– Train employees about gender issue
– Provide supports for the elderly by formulating programs, policies and projects
– Make research about prostitution and design strategy to overcome it
– Train the unemployed
– Have gender dis-aggregated information
– • Mediate resource to help and train prostitutes
Bureau of Agriculture Introduce extension service in activities which are closely related to women such as Vegetable, milk production, polluter etc.)
Encourage women head families to participate in every program
Assist women in getting credit and inputs and extension services
Bureau of Trade and Industry • Gender balanced Training services
• Organize informal sector participants in group and ensure credit
Civil Service Commission • Ensure equal pay for equal job
• Encourage women professionals to take high government positions
• Safeguard job security for women
• Design a promotion strategy (Salary, education)
Investment • Design an incentive scheme for women investors
• Give special incentives for projects which promote female employment and services
Commission for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness ? Work program’s through which Female victims (with no land and means of Production) can have a sustainable support
? Give priority to women and children
? Create a gender sensitive appraisal system for NGO projects
Plan and Economy • Establish a system where by reporting and planning is dis-aggregated on gender basis
• Use Gender equality as a basis for program and project selection.
Police Fight violence against women such as rape
Safe guard prostitutes from men violence by training, counseling etc.
Encourage more Female members in the police
Department of Prosecution • Defend women and ensure their rights
• Follow-up the implementations of the legal and Political rights of women
• Create legal consciousness among the community
Justice office • Clear women cases very quickly
• Study on most frequent women cases and conduct training on solving them
• Train traditional courts
Women’s Bureau ? Be a center for regional coordination
? Design a gender training manuals
? Coordinate gender activities
? Conduct extensive gender awareness seminars
? Assist organized women
? Look for funds to assist rural land less and urban poor women.
? • Conduct surveys and different researches on women’s projects
Kebele Administration ? Encourage women participation in decision making and benefits from dev’t work
? Create awareness about gender equality in all occasions
? Encourage involvement of women in various development committees
? Organize grass root level women organization
? Support women association by providing offices, land etc.
Technology and research Centers • Generate and strengthen appropriate technology that reduce the work load of women
Water Energy and Mining bureau • Encourage the participation of the women in water committee
• Facilitate water provision
• Introduce and encourage the utilization of energy saving technology
4. Review of the practicality of the policy plan
National Women Policy of Ethiopia formulated in 1993, the right time that Ethiopian women have been in rough situation and need much more empowerment and promotion. The policy had been working for more than twenty years. Since that time, surely it made a big progress and change Ethiopian women life as well as their attitude.
Practicality of the policy or implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, quality and or policy. The policy is then put into practice and implemented with the aim of achieving specific and agreed outcomes.
This policy focused on what government ought to do for women and what women must do for themselves through their own associations. The women right and choice to compete also in some extent they got equal opportunity with men, but still there is much effort to ensure gender equality. Although the policy went though many different situations, there has been a lot of achievements and progress that it made.
When we observe at over all national women policy implementation with respect to health, education and poverty alleviation the following achievement identified
? Increased health coverage from 48% in 1998 to 60% in 2002 which has an effect on
increasing women’s access to health services in general and to maternal health in particular, since maternal and child health are integrated at each level of health delivery points;
? Girls marriage age has increased to 18 years and other harmful traditional
practices are being punishable by law;
? Infant/child immunization coverage has increased from 42% in 1998 to 51% in 2002 Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased for 9.8% in 1998 to 17% in 2002
Antenatal coverage has increased form 30% in 1998 to 34% in 2002 (Health ; Health
Related Indictors/MOH 2002)
? National reproductive health advocacy tool has been prepared followed by a national
advocacy conference in 2003 with the aim of increasing resources and engaging policy
? Infant mortality rate has decreased from 108/1000 live births in 1998 to 97/1000 in 2002
? Postnatal coverage has increased form 4% in 1998 to 7% in 2002 (Health ; Health Related
? Assisted delivery by trained personnel increased from 4% in 1998 to 9% in 2002 (Health ;
Health Related Indictors/ MOH 2002)
? National Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) guideline has been developed
and intervention has started in four project areas and ways of scaling up the project to all regional states is underway;
? Base line survey on harmful traditional practices in Ethiopia has been carried out by the
National Committee on Traditional Practices and has been distributed to all stakeholders;
? Fertility rate has decreased from 6.7 in 1998 to 5.6 per woman of reproductive age in 2002
? 34 HIV/AIDS sentinel surveillance centers for pregnant women are established and equipped and staffed all over the country;
? When we consider technical vocational educational training enrolment trend (TVETs) female enrollment remains almost equal to men’s. In 2012/13, at 51.2%, female enrollment was slightly more than men’s.
4.1.1. Case of progress practicality in TVET Enrollment Trends
Male 165,910 196,937 199,799 173,148 116,457
Female 142,591 158,483 171,548 157,261 122,427
Total 308,501 353,420 371,347 314,159 238,884
Source: Federal Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Education, “Education Statistics Annual Abstract 2012/13,” p.54
We can see that there is progress in female’s proportion.
As the policy pointed there is many different dimensions that women are improved and this policy employed (Health, education, business and associations etc) for instant the policy says “Women should not be restricted to any one association; instead, they should be free to form associations of their choice in accordance with their specific needs or professions. To this concern women are given freedom and opportunity to choice their participation of groups in accordance with their specific needs.
4.1.2. EPRDF Members Representations in the Fourth House of Peoples’ Representatives
Number Name of Parties Dispersion of Seats in the HPR
F M Total Seats Total
Tigray People Seats in the HPRR 13 25 38 34.2
Amhara National Democratic Movement 46 92 138 33.3
Oromo People’s Democratic Organization 47 131 178 26.4
South Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement 36 87 122 29.5
5 Addis Ababa 7 15 22 31.8
6 Dire Dawa – 2 2 0
Seats of EPRDF 149 351 500 29.8
Source: Compiled from National Electoral Board of Ethiopia data
You can see that % of women is less than male from the above table.
There is number of stakeholders and interest groups who has been involving implementing this policy. These partners take an active role for women empowerment and at the same time building their capacity. The Regional Women’s Affairs sector Office, Women’s Affair in the Prime Minister Office and Women’s Department in Ministries Public Organizations are among the stakeholders. Each of these stakeholder play significance role through duties and responsibilities that is assigned.
Women’s Affair in the Prime Minister Office, created appropriate atmosphere for the implementation of women’s affairs. In each ministry of government there is an officer employ for women affairs, and that is government effort to empower and build women capacity. This opportunity enhanced women courage and aspiration when they found themselves in new condition of respect and careful.
Also this office, improved financial aspects of the women, when drought and poverty arise women are among most effected part of the population, so the policy give attention economic satisfaction of the women through financial support.
? Agriculture is one of the largest sources of employment for Ethiopians, and women make up a large percentage of the agricultural labor force. The following table shows that women’s participation in the agricultural sector has been growing over the last several years, peaking at 45% in 2014.
4.1.3. Women Participation in Agricultural sector
Share of Females in Agriculture Labor Force Share (%) 2014
Labor force in agriculture (% of total labor force) 75.1
Females (% of labor force in agriculture) 45.0
Source: FAOSTAT. “Ethiopia. Economic Indicators.”
5. Recommendation of Alternative Policy Action points
The government of Ethiopia has been working a central and focal points to empower woman since 1993 to increase progress towards gender equality in the country as a high priority agenda. To speed up and to foster the socio-economic and political participation of women, a practical alternative action needs to be designed and implemented. As part of the alternative policy action this study is recommending the following possible alternative policy issues as follow.
? Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to women’s access to economic development, access to administrative privileges.
? Encouraging women’s economic empowerment and income generation, protection from violence and food security. Empowerment strategies need to be harmonized with efforts to address unfair laws and obstacles to the use of the formal legal sector.
? Enhancing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership and peace-building, economic diplomacy and aid program
? Educating, improving professional development and empowering woman through continuous learning. This can able to create women’s independence is women’s empowerment. Independence enables confidence in their workplace, the market place and in their community.
? Facilitating gender equality in all sectors of the economy. This would see a significant reduction in violence against women. Aggression is a result and sign of the status of women in society. If we had a radical reduction in violence, it would send a message that women’s rights will be achieved.
? Particular attention need to be given to women and health. Ensure that the medical community supports the family planning strategy The medical community should help ensure that service providers are capable of providing accurate and unbiased information on a range of woman’s health issues
? Prevention of early marriage and provision of information and the tools they need to make responsible choices regarding their sexual lives.
? Expand the social safety net so that it can provide security in old age. Adopting measures that give preferential treatment to girls and women in terms of scholarships, gender-based quotas for employment or financial incentives aimed at improving their economic situation could also be considered.
? Develop a culturally responsive comprehensive family planning policy and implement it developing an inclusive strategy to expand family planning that includes community outreach, the mobilization of support from community leaders, the training of service providers and a communication program aimed at changing norms and empowering people by providing reliable.
? Encouraging and formulating an institutional mechanism for the advancement of women in all sphere of development including leadership.
? Support and provide necessary and sufficient resources to identify and design effective, context-specific strategies to promote gender equality.
? Promulgating a law, which can be necessary tool for advancing women’s rights and equality on the base of a strong and effective legal system based on the rule of law.
5.1. Importance of the policy
I. It helps women to become equal partners in decision-making and development.
II. It strengthening the rule of law in the country, holistic economic empowerment and create social citizenship.
III. It helps to enhance women’s access to social services, accumulation of wealth, reliable justice in miscellaneous activities.
IV. It improves women’s access to demonstrate their participation justice in both formal and informal systems.
These, woman empowerment strategies are most effective where implemented in conjunction with ‘top-down’ and bottom up measures and through local partners. Moreover, legal issues relating to woman need to be created an interface of informal and formal justice settings.
5.2. Precondition required implementing this alternative.
For socio-economic and legal empowerment to work, cultural attitudes, economic dependency and discrimination must also be taken into consideration and properly tackled.