18 December 2016

Ethiopia: Investing in Women Is Viable Strategy

An Ethiopian-born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer, and actress Liya Kebede once said, "Investing in women's lives is an investment in sustainable development, in human rights, in future generations and consequently in our own long-term national interests." This insight is growing clearer and clearer to take the attention of the entire of world. Since women have been given chances, they nowadays are becoming noticed more and more for their exceptional successes in every field of global businesses, attaining high ranking positions in the most renowned corporations of the world. They have continued demonstrating their unique skills and leadership approach.

Realizing the tremendous outcomes of investing in the lives women, the Ethiopian government has been accomplishing a number of activities that increase the successful participation of women in political, social and economic affairs of the nation. Since it has declared its total commitment to the improvement of women's lives with the announcement of the National Policy on Women in 1993, several achievements have been registered.

This National Policy on Women (usually referred to Women's Policy) mainly focus on institutionalizing the political, economical, and social rights of women by creating a proper structure in government offices and institutions so that the public policies and interventions are gender-sensitive and can guarantee equitable development for all men and women. The government's unreserved commitment to promote women's equal participation in the economic, political and social developments of the country has been manifested in various forms. For instance, the establishment of a Women's Affairs Office within the Prime Minister's Office mandated to coordinate and facilitate conditions to promote gender equality in areas of development in 1992 has been playing a great role in implementing the objectives of the policy.

Making use of the advantages of this policy, women have formed associations so that they have access to credit, training and get self employment or create various activities that are productive and beneficiary. Professional women associations such as women's health association, women lawyer's association, women education association and the like usually come together to search solutions for social and economical constraints and to promote women's capacity by arranging training programmes and experience sharing forums. Moreover, the Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association and the Ethiopian Midwives Association are some inspiring development of civil society whose interest lies in meeting the needs of women. As a result, several women that have excelled in the private and public sectors are stepping up to the challenge of leadership since they are provided opportunities. Thus, investing in women means investing in Ethiopia's future.

Furthermore, cognizant of the global influence of women, the incoming United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres, a former Portuguese Prime Minister, appointed three women to top jobs amid gender parity push. This is considered to be a conscious decision of the elect chief. The three women: Nigeria's Environment Minister Amina Mohammed as his deputy secretary-general amid a push by more than a third of the 193 UN member states for gender parity at the world body. The Brazilian Diplomat Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti as chef de cabinet and Kyung-wha Kang of South Korea to a newly created position as special adviser on policy. "These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity," Guterres said.

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