Ethiopia: Women Empowerment - a Matter of Necessity, Not Charity

Sometimes it looks trivial in our country to talk about women empowerment now and then, but their live participation in all aspects has been a matter of necessity not to merely provide them with audacious charity. It is also crystal clear that such a compelling situation has risen since half, even plus, of the entire population of the country is composed of women.

In addition, it is also worth noting that the comprehensive strength of women, if possible, is instrumental in achieving other pillars of sustainable development, growth and prosperity in the country. Most importantly, the economic empowerment of women is crucial for them to become active participants in the political dynamism.

"Either the government or political parties or concerned body you name it has to take positive measures to encourage, train and prepare women to run for public office as women in politics and in decision-making positions in government contribute to redefining political priorities, placing new items on the political agenda that reflect gender-specific concerns, and providing new perspectives on mainstream political issues," said Eyasu Bonsa, a civic and ethical education prospective graduate at Kotebe Metropolitan University.

Yes, political issues in our country are left solely to men though there are improvements these days. Women are stressing the constructive morals and assets inherent in society, especially when they have been calling for change.

Be that as it may, Eyasu stated, the unending reality is that women remain seriously played down at all levels of government and are largely absent from key decision-making positions. Wherever disproportion persists in political decision-making, it is also likely to keep on in governmental policy-making. By the way, when women increase their role in politics, their participation serves as leverage for increased equality in governmental decision-making.

Undeniably, said Eyasu, women's equal participation in political life is essential to securing their development and their equal representation in administration and the formulation of public policies.

The very idea that needs to be well explicated when we talk about women political participation is, how can the Government of Ethiopia use the available human resources to beef up women participation in politics and increase the number of women in government, especially in key executive positions? "Of the number of breakthroughs, is would be unfair skipping to other issues without citing the issue of election, for instance," he opined.

"Interestingly, the incumbent has tried all its best to increase the number of women in politics and in crucial government offices. Though a lot remains to be done, the government has trekked a number of very promising steps," he added.

As to him it is important to fully understand the impact of quotas on women's representation in politics if the country is to come up with a participatory, comprehensive and doable political culture.

As learnt from Eyasu, the main focus that has rested on recent reform and integration of women into all parts of society has a better chance of succeeding in leading to permanent authorization of women with equal political citizenship.

"The playground right at this moment is well leveled and helps the nation ensure women's full participation throughout all stages of the election processes for instance in pre, during and post eras. Women should keep in mind all variables and alternatives with regard to electoral system design. It is evident that much work needs to be done in order to convince women to run for elections at the local level," he said.

He further requested, "Does the electoral act make provisions for political parties to register a gender positive constitution and manifesto to be eligible for registration as a political party?"

Asked about the concept of women empowerment, Eyasu said it involves the action of boosting the status of women through literacy, education, and training and rising awareness. Hence, women empowerment is all about allowing and equipping women to make life-determining choices across different issues in the country.

The government is now working on measures supporting women's political participation across the electoral cycle, including through coordinated efforts in line with the legal framework. One major focus is the adoption and implementation of temporary special measures or quotas, a proven mechanism for increasing the number of women in politics.

Tirhas Hadegu, a gender studies graduate at Addis Ababa University also said women engagement in political parties entails greater gender sensitivity, such as through internal regulations and practices to promote their leadership.

She further said that at this critical point in Ethiopia's political transition, women have been endeavoring to the effort geared towards ensuring gender equality and the use of affirmative action.

"Women's equal participation with men in power and decision-making is part of their fundamental right, and either strategies or policies to increase women's participation in politics have to be well advanced through conventions, protocols and international agreements for gender mainstreaming. However, they are yet to prove effective in achieving gender parity in the highest government rankings," she underscored.

She further said that given the fact that our country has ratified international conventions and protocols on gender equality and women political participation, the low level of women's representation in government and political parties may be considered a violation of their fundamental democratic rights.

Thanks to the recent reform actors, she said, "We are now given the right attention though not sufficient. Basically, women empowerment is not a charity move, instead a march against change wows in the nation as women, let me put in an inclusive fashion, we, constitute almost half plus portion of the population."

Thus, women continue to be underrepresented in governments across the nation and face barriers that often make it difficult for them to exercise political power and assume leadership positions in the public sphere unless the laws and regulations of the country concerning women are well translated into practical actions, Tirhas added.

As to Tirhas, the prevailing discriminatory laws, attitudes, gender stereotypes, low levels of education, among others have been attributable to the disproportionate effect of poverty on women. As a result, she stated, the government in every part of the country has capitalized on reaching out to the unreached even.

In the modern world where Ethiopia is advancing towards democratization and radical transformation thereby coming up with comprehensive change, all the concerns of women have to be well dealt with. This concern is highly supported by Tirhas, too.

She said, "Building up the economic, social and political pillars of sustainability through neglecting the great role women have been playing since long back purely degrades the essence of the reform for real change. Focusing a range of spheres without attaching due emphasis to women can lead to transformation for a few. Given demanding gender gaps nationwide, these few tend to be mostly men."

Yes, said Tirhas, sustainable development of human society has environmental, material, ecological, social, economic, legal, cultural, political and psychological dimensions that require attention, and women empowerment and gender equality are thus the prime means to bring about radical social, economic and political change.

In a nut shell, one can easily deduce from the comprehensive scenario of what is happening in Ethiopia can be without the equal inclusion of women in all areas of development initiatives, all the above-mentioned components of comprehensive and sustainable socio-economic and political development cannot be achieved.

Hence, women empowerment is mandatory, as it enables them to fully use their imminent, resourcefulness, and aptitude, which are instrumental for the real transformation of the country. However, if they are not empowered and allowed to use their potential, the country could hardly trek towards the intended summit at an optimum pace. No matter how challenging the universe is, these world organs of mighty engine never quit, never refrain from making up the globe.

These World Organs of Mighty Engine Never quit W -World, O--Organs of, M--mighty, E--engines, N--Never quit (This is what Tirhas has given

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