International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year to laud the previous generations’ achievements in gender equality and make a call on the international community to do better for women.
At a time of questionable labour laws and growing women’s suffrage movements, factions of women started to band together and talk about oppression. Unrest was growing, and in 1908, 15,000 women took to the streets of New York to demand better hours, increased pay and voting rights.
The United States was the first country to hold a National Woman’s Day on February 28th, 1909 and its roots were campaigning for shorter work hours, better pay and voting rights.
March 8th was officially proclaimed International Women’s Day in 1913. Following this more countries joined the cause, including Russia and the United Kingdom. The United Nations officially joined the party in 1975 by recognizing the day for the first time.
Two years later, the UN General Assembly formally adopted the day for its Member States.
Today, we mark March 8 to celebrating women and acknowledging the fact that no country in the world has achieved gender equality yet. Everyday, we witness the violations of women’s rights, discrimination based on gender and lack of women’s representation in the administrative ladder..
A glimpse of Ethiopian women history
Ethiopian women have active participation in all aspects of their communities over ages. Due to the discriminatory political, economic and social rules and regulations during the previous regimes, they were barred from enjoying the fruits of their labour.
It is believed women consist half of the population and without their equal engagement and treatment in all aspects of life; the country’s vision of becoming a middle-income economy cannot be attained.
Too often, systems are not designed that allow women to succeed. Gender inequality is perpetuated by both formal and informal systems, structures and attitudes.
The inferior status of women in Ethiopian society has evidently been witnessed for ages. The status of a peasant woman was not better from a slave. In the wealthier families, where domestic drudgery is handled by servants, she must still be passive or show a reserved nonentity.
Women are beaten as a matter of course for mistakes in their work or apparent flirtations with other men. The wrong adage also goes “Women and pack animals need a prodding by a stick.”
Before the 1974 Revolution, women’s organized activities were run by non –governmental bodies such as Ethiopian Women’s Welfare Association, the Ethiopian Officer’s Wives Association and the Ethiopian Female Students’ Association.
Those traditional organizations were in response to calls from leaders to assist in the war effort. In the Adwa campaign as well as the Italian occupation in 1935, women assisted as cooks, nurses, even soldiers. The leaders of these associations were mostly women from the royal families.
Despite their low representation, women played active role in the politically charged atmosphere of the early 70’s university students movement. Among them Martha Mebratu and Tadelech Haile-Michael were mentioned to have active participation in the male dominated anti-establishment activities.
University Women’s Club was also formed aiming at improving the living conditions of women at the then Haile-Selassie I University College.
After the 1974 revolution, the military government set up Revolutionary Ethiopia Women’s Association (REWA), in Amharic, AESEMA.
Working from the deplorable and nearly non-existent women’s rights platform, REWA had monumental challenges to overcome.
REWA had registered success in creating awareness of women's rights among its members and being a contributing factor for the then government to commemorate the International Women's Day for the first time in the country’s history.
REWA had a national active membership of five million women and it was highly structured and organized.
Despite the stated achievements, REWA was too close to the Derg and had a little impact to influence government’s policies or help women benefit from development programs. Many claimed that its establishment helped, in fact, the consolidation of Derg’s power.
During the civil war, Ethiopian women made a unique contribution both as fighters and as civilian supporters to challenging and ousting the brutal and incompetent regime of the military junta.
Ethiopian women in the Post-1991 period
Soon after the demise of the Derg regime, a Transitional Government of Ethiopia whose principles set out in a charter was formed. The charter had given priority for women’s rights and paved way for them to have the benefits of their labour on equal basis with men.
Ethiopia’s first elected government attached due emphasis for women’s rights, clearly stipulated in the 1995’s Constitution. The preamble of the Constitution stated that people of Ethiopia have a vision to build nation where women have equal right with men.
The government’s commitment for women’s rights was further demonstrated by an issued article solely dealt with women’s rights. The country’s first women policy was issued in that period.
Article 35 of the FDRE 1995 Constitution entitled women equal status with men in political, social and economic life as well as in public and private institutions. It also prohibits customs and practices that oppress women as well as protecting them from harmful practices.
The government also issued affirmative actions to women aiming at mending their age long history of inequality and enable them to compete and participate on the basis of equality with men.
All government policies and plans have been designed in a way to ensure women’s participation in every socio-economic activity and maximize their benefits. Women are also entitled to equal status with men to acquire, administer and control use and transfer of property.
Ensuring gender parity in workplaces is one of the key priorities of the Ethiopian government and it has been executing various undertakings in this regard. The Ethiopian Airlines, the national flag carrier, is among the entities that have significantly increased women’s participation in all areas.
Ethiopian dispatched its first-ever flight operated by an all-female crew in January 2016. By sending off an all-women crew flight to Bangkok, Thailand, the airline promoted women’s empowerment and encouraged fellow Ethiopian girls pursue aviation careers.
It was the first time in the airliner’s history that an all-women crew (they were 11) operates the flight both on the ground and in the sky. Besides encouraging young girls to pursue their dreams, the flight also said to be a demonstration for Ethiopia's success in minimizing gender parity in workplaces.
In the political front, women's participation has shown a remarkable progress over the years and in the House of Peoples’ Representatives, the highest political organ of the country, they consist 38.9 per cent of total seats.
While the deputy speaker of the House is a female, one third of standing committees are also chaired by women. The House has women’s caucus aiming at increasing the number of women in leadership positions and enhance their benefits and participation in various fields.
A growing number of women’s participation at high-level decision-making positions is highly manifested. And currently the country has two ministers and over a dozen state ministers.
Strong women’s involvement was also witnessed in previous national elections and
it is believed those elections did try to assert women’s equality with men in determining the fate of the country.
The elections gave women electorate an opportunity to elect political parties that ensure their benefit and equal participation in nation building.
While Ministry of Women Affairs was formed to institutionalize efforts to protect women’s interest, women policy, women development and change package and various pro-women declarations were also being issued and ratified by the current government.
Strong women associations and federation were set at various levels across the country to protect the rights and benefits of member women.
Due to government’s consolidated gender mainstreaming efforts, progress has also been attained in increasing gender parity in public posts.
Ensuring women’s active participation and benefit in the economy is among pillars of the first and second Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP One and Two) and significant works have been done for women’s economic empowerment.
While women have been entitled certain privileges in condominium houses draws, access to loans and entrepreneurship trainings and others, a significant number of them were being employed in micro and small enterprises to acquire assets.
The country has made big leaps in improving women’s livelihoods and increasing their access to education, health and other social services. 38,000 women health extension workers have been trained in recent years helping the country register success in reducing mothers’ and children death.
Consolidated efforts are also under way to relive women from domestic drudgery and protecting them from physical and psychological assaults as well as harmful practices.
The road ahead
While keeping in mind the above facts; however, there is a long way to go in creating significant changes in the livelihoods of women and enable them to play equal role with men in nation building.
Due attention need be given to rural women, the most vulnerable group in the society, regarding access to basic social services and means of lessening their workload. Attention should also be given to improving the health and nutrition of mothers and improving their education.
The government has to keep on making rigorous efforts to improve the level of women’s income and eliminating prejudices and customary practices that are based on male supremacy.
Enabling women to hold high level public offices and strengthening women’s association must be top agendas of the incumbent.
Above all, women themselves should fight for their rights and better future and transformation of the country. Such moves would support the vision of our Constitution set to ensure gender equality comes true.
BY BILAL DERSO
AMISOM opened a three-day training Monday to build and strengthen the capacity of Somali stakeholders in conflict negotiation, resolution and management.
The workshop in Nairobi is being attended by 21 Somali participants including state ministers, former MPs, government officials, clan elders and representatives of civil society.
The AU Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Madeira told the participants: "I expect that with the new acquired skills you will go back to Somalia to support negotiations, mediation and dialogue initiatives of your respective places of work and communities."
Ambassador Madeira said Somalis should be tolerant with one another and try to find a level playing ground that will allow them to live in harmony. "We should find the common denominator that can allow us live together and tolerate each other," he said, adding, "Once we realize the problems then we will be able to get the answers."
The workshop topics include causes of conflict, its resolution and management; negotiations and inclusivity; mediation and dialogue. The training exercise is part of AMISOM's mission to support the Somali government in its effort to bring peace to the country that has suffered decades of war.
BY BILAL DERSO
The Ethiopian Transport Authority said cross border bus transport between Addis Ababa and Khartoum will commence on the coming Sunday
Public Transport Efficiency Authentication director with the authority Tesfaye Belachew told EBC that the public transport project between Addis Ababa and Khartoum has taken about eight years.
This public transport believed to enhance the relationship of the two countries in trade, investment and tourism sectors.
It will take only two days to reach Khartoum from Addis Ababa, and the transport cost will be 60 USD .
BY LUELSEGED WORKU
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an emergency visit to Somalia Tuesday to highlight the country's famine crisis, meeting the new president and saying the worsening hunger requires a massive response.
"People are dying. The world must act now to stop this," the UN chief tweeted on his arrival in the Horn of Africa nation.
"We need to make as much noise as possible," Guterres said. "Conflict, drought, climate change, disease, cholera. The combination is a nightmare."
Somalia is part of a massive four billion USD aid appeal launched last month for four nations suffering from conflict and hunger. The others are Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan, where famine already has been declared.
Somalia over the weekend announced its first death toll since declaring a national disaster last week, saying 110 people had died in a 48-hour period in a single region.
The United Nations estimates that five million people in Somalia need aid, amid warnings of a famine.
Welcoming the UN chief, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said: "My first priority is to address this drought crisis, and my main priority is to make an appeal to the international community to help us."
Guterres said he was pleased to meet Mohamed, who was elected and inaugurated last month. "I am bringing a message of solidarity to the president. A message of support," Guterres said. "Let's hope he can start an inclusive government."
U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien on Monday visited a camp of hundreds of Somalis who came to the capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, according to ABC news.
BY HOMA MULISA
Caribbean leaders worry that with climate change sceptic Donald Trump in the White House, it will be more difficult for small island developing states facing the brunt of climate change to secure the financing necessary to adapt to and mitigate against it.
Mere days after Trump’s inauguration, the White House ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to delete a page about climate change from its website. It has also also signalled its intention to slash the budget of the NOAA, the U.S.’s leading climate science agency, by 17 percent.
If Trump follows through on his campaign promise to roll back his predecessor, Barack Obama’s, green legacy, it seems inevitable that Caribbean and other small island developing states will feel the effects. Trump had also explicitly vowed to stop all US payments to UN climate change programmes.
In this archipelagic nation, the Ralph Gonsalves administration spent some 3.7 million dollars in November 2016 – about 1 per cent of that year’s budget – cleaning up after a series of trough systems.
The sum did not take into account the monies needed to respond to the damage to public infrastructure and private homes, as well as losses in agriculture resulting from the severe weather, which the government has blamed on climate change.
“The United States is one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases and, for us, the science is clear and we accept the conclusion of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change,” Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said.
He said his nation’s commitment is reflected not only in the fact that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the early signatories to the Paris Agreement at the end of COP 21, but was also one of the early ratifiers of the agreement.
The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. During the election campaign, Trump vowed that he would pull the U.S. out of the deal if elected, although there appears to be some dissent within the administration on the issue.
It was reported this week that Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which oversaw the Paris deal, is visiting the US and had requested a meeting with Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and other officials over the commitment of the new administration to global climate goals.
So far, Espinosa says she has been snubbed, and a state department official told the Guardian there were no scheduled meetings to announce.
The official added, “As with many policies, this administration is conducting a broad review of international climate issues.”
Small island developing states have adopted the mantra “1.5 to stay alive”, saying that ideally global climate change should be contained to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialisation levels if their islands are to survive.
Gonsalves is hopeful that Trump would modify the policies outlined during the election campaign.
“I have listened to President Trump after the election and he had said that he is keeping an open mind on the question of man-made climate change,” he said.
Gonsalves noted, however, the developments regarding the removal of climate change references from the White House website, adding, “But I would actually wait to see what would actually happen beyond what takes place on the website.”
The prime minister noted to IPS that the United States is an extremely powerful country, but suggested that even if Washington follows through on Trump’s campaign pledges, all is not lost.
“The United States of American has a population of 330 million people. Currently, in the world, there are seven and a half billion people … There is a lot of the world out there other than 330 million [people] and the world is not just one country — though a hugely important country.”
But Kingstown is not just waiting to see where Trump goes with his policy on climate change.
Come_May 1, consumers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will begin paying a 1 per cent “Disaster Levy” on consumption within the country. The monies generated will be used to capitalise the Contingences Fund, which will be set up to help offset the cost of responding to natural disasters.
In presenting his case to lawmakers, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, said that there have been frequent severe natural disasters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, particularly since 2010, resulting in extensive loss and damage to houses, physical infrastructure and economic enterprises.
“The central government has incurred significant costs in providing relief and assistance to affected households and businesses and for rehabilitation and replacement of damaged infrastructure. Indeed, we have calculated that no less than 10 per cent of the public debt has been incurred for disaster-related projects and initiatives, narrowly-defined,” he told Parliament during his Budget Address in February.
As part of the Paris Agreement, developed countries said they intend to continue their existing collective goal to mobilise 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 and extend this until 2025. A new and higher goal will be set for after this period.
Gonsalves said it was not anticipated that the Paris Agreement would have been signed and ratified by November 2016. “But it was done. The anticipation was that it was going to take several years longer, so they put the commitments from 2020.
“Now, what are we going to do between 2017 and 2020?” he said, adding that one practical response is to push for the pledges to come forward.
As Caribbean nations do what they can, locally, to respond to the impact of climate change, they are hoping that global funding initiatives for adaptation and mitigation do not take on the usual sluggish disbursement practices of other global initiatives.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told leaders of the 15-member Caribbean Community at their 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Guyana in mid-February that it was critical the Green Climate Fund be more readily accessible_for countries trying to recover from the aftermaths of climate-driven natural disaster
BY KENTON CHANCE
Women can create sustainable positive impact on future development for their society
“Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” is the theme for the International Women’s Day that is being celebrated today. The focus seems to be: narrowing gender inequality in the workforce is the critical prerequisite in order to achieve the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It is becoming a gross understanding that for any country to realize its full economic and democratic potential, the quest for women’s participation in leadership and decision making ought to get high priority.
According to McKinsey Global Institute's latest research, in 2025, the world's gross domestic product (GDP) could get about 28 trillion dollar increase, if women, who make up half of the word’s work-age population, were to be given similar opportunities with their male counterparts.
Though the global community arrives at a general consensus regarding the urgent need to increase women’s participation in the workforce and acknowledge their contributions to the global economy, it seems that there are a lot of assignments ahead of every nations to create an economy that encourages every woman to maximize their potential with enabling environment. Supporting this, the UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri recently stated, “To accelerate the move to a planet 50/50 in women’s economic empowerment and work will require a transformation of both the public and private sector environments and world of work they create for women and also how they change it to make it a women’s space of productive and fulfilling work.”
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1979 in order to provide a framework for advancement of the right of women and set up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. Unfortunately, decades after this agreement, women in Africa are facing a number of problems that hinder their economic and political involvement in addition to the cultural norms that compromise their sexual and reproductive health. In Africa where women are more active as economic agents than anywhere else in the world women are paid lesser than men.
In the continent's agriculture sector where 70 percent of the population has involved, two-thirds of the labour force consist of women who could not get adequate inputs: land, fertilizers, new technologies, extension services and the like.
Researches also indicate that even though the women in the continent are laboring a lot and carrying out their responsibilities more effectively than men, they are more likely to be involved in low-value-added activities that bring less results for them. The Sub-Saharan Africa countries incur the loss of 95 billion dollar annually for failing to offer women and girls proper recognition in every sphere of life. Thus, the nations must invest in the lives of their women in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Cognizant of the enormous results 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.
Observing March 8, Ethiopia has decided to appreciate women's saving culture with the theme: “The enhancement of women's saving culture is the basis for our Renaissance.” The purpose is to cultivate women economic empowerment that in turn supports the economic growth of the nation.
A couple of decades ago, the Ethiopian Constitution guaranteed equal opportunity to women with the men. It underscored that women have equal right with men in marriage as well. The purpose is to ensure gender parity so that the women can have similar political, social and economic participation with men. Since the constitution women have relatively been enjoying opportunities to acquire, administer, control, own properties and the like. Unlike in the previous regimes where inequality between women and men was widely apparent in every department of life, the livelihood of the women in the nation has been improving, the number of girls attending schools is dramatically increasing. These days, it is becoming common to see young women top scorers at different higher institutions; they are enjoying relatively better jobs while their participation in leadership and politics has been increasing.
In short, since women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development the country is pursuing, the government has demonstrated significant efforts to improve the lives of women in every aspect. It also strongly believes that economic development is unthinkable without the participation of women.
Just as some psychiatrists tell us that woman is a multiplier, provided that women earn a reasonable income, the society which they belong to enjoys the multiplier effect since they reinvest a much higher part of their earnings in their families and communities' lives than men do. In accomplishing this unique role, they can create sustainable positive impact on future development of their society. That is why the Ethiopian government has continued appreciating and prioritizing the necessity of empowering women.
BY WAKUMA KUDAMA
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is not only a gigantic hydroelectric power plant with enormous economic benefits but also a living monument of the national response to the injustice that has been perpetrated on the country for hundreds of years.
GERD engulfs several intertwined factors that are relevant to history, international and regional relations and economic integration, peace and promotion of national consensus, tourism, research, protection of the environment and several other socio-economic issues of importance.
The construction of GERD is not only in par with the national development programmes of Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) I and II, but it also fits effectively into the global Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s vision of Agenda 2063. Recent events in the promotion of renewable energy in Africa vividly show the shining example that GERD has set for a new regional initiative.
In the first meeting of the Board of Directors of African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), which was recently held at the AU headquarters, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said: “ Without [the expansion of] energy and electricity, it is very difficult for African countries to industrialize.”
The Initiative was launched in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France. A group of 10 international partners are committed to mobilize 10 billion USD between 2015 and 2020 to the realization of the objectives of the initiative.
Noting on the irreversible commitment of Ethiopia to promote the sector, Premier Hailemariam said “Ethiopia will be very much involved and committed for the success of the initiative."
The Africa-led Initiative is aimed at accelerating and scaling up efforts to harness the continent’s huge renewable energy potential setting to achieve at least 10 GW of new and additional renewable energy generation capacity by 2020 and 300 GW by 2030.
GERD is not only an inert hydropower dam. It has effectively nurtured a practical and nationwide national consensus in Ethiopia. It is a living symbol of unity, irrespective of differences in ethnicity, religious affiliation, world outlook and gender.
The question now is what brought up this spirit of consensus? Does it emanate from mere nationalist stance on the use of the Nile or is it from an understanding of long range and multi-faceted benefits the nation gets from the project?
Both ways may prove to be obvious facts. The River Nile has been jutting out of Ethiopia providing the country with no benefit. Hence, the construction of GERD has increased a positive outlook for mutual development at the national level and in the context of the riparian countries. Ever since the victory at the Battle of Adwa, no issue has triggered a massive consensus on unity and national development than GERD.
GERD has uplifted the aspirations of the youth in Ethiopia. It stands to reason that almost all professionals engaged in the construction and safeguarding the security of the dam are in the age bracket of youth. Besides generating employment opportunity for thousands of youth, GERD has also been instrumental in promoting technology transfer and developing a new generation of engineers that can replicate their know how to future hydropower projects not only in Ethiopia but to the rest of Africa as well.
The dam is being constructed by the peoples of Ethiopia irrespective of the amount of the money in their pockets. A whole chain of social fabric ranging from kids in nurseries to senior citizens are contributing to the battle raging against poverty through their ever growing commitment to the completion of GERD.
All the more, GERD is a living symbol of peace in Africa as it would spearhead the integration of power grids in the Horn of Africa to promote carbon free industry and refocus the continent’s attention from collusion to coalition. After all, GERD is an iconic project for the realization of the African Union aspiration that want to see economically integrated countries.
No wonder Africans in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sudan Republic, Somalia, Djibouti and Egypt could count on GERD as a source of renewable energy. GERD will certainly be a hub for tourists from these countries and around the world.
GERD is also expected to be a regional research centre for institutes of higher learning in Ethiopia and for universities in the region as well as global partners in education and research. Researches in and around GERD may focus on hydrology, aquatic life, watershed management, settlement, soil and water conservation and a number of researches relevant to semi-arid ecologies.
This flagship project is also a showcase and a melting pot for unity in diversity for the peoples of Ethiopia. It is a practical manifestation of the fact that the Ethiopian federal system is on the right track. The Renaissance Trophy, which is in a national tour in all the states is not a symbolic gesture for soliciting national fund for the construction of GERD, rather it is a demonstration of the commonality of needs, interests, values and attitude of the Ethiopian people towards national development.
It also demonstrates the transformation of the country from internal conflict and civil war to waging a national war against poverty and destitution. In this regard, the dam has helped to enhance national optimism and a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel in the journey to end poverty once and for all. The project has vindicated the correct path towards breaking the vicious circle of poverty. Thanks to GERD, ordinary Ethiopians have developed the culture of saving. As the Ethiopian proverb goes “Dihenet Ye Arba Ken Idil Aydelem”, literary mean “Poverty is no vice”
Ethiopia does not and will never harbor a mentality of ‘after me, the deluge’. The lofty goals which GERD strives to meet are effectively national, regional and global as well. Ethiopia’s renewable energy development programme is not an inconsiderate programme that tends to exclude from its benefits other brotherly African countries. It is a manifestation of a typical Ethiopian culture of sharing resources with neighbours. The 6th anniversary of the laying of GERD’’s cornerstone is a couple of days away and an unparalleled public mobilization is going on in much the same vein as it was during the Battle of Adwa. In connection to the International Women's Day (March 8), Ethiopians from all walks of life across the country participated in a running race under the theme: The Enhancement of Women's Saving Culture is the Basis for Our Renaissance ." The spirit and eagerness displayed by the runners was amazing and afresh for the GERD. It is heart-heating and empowering for all Ethiopians. It felt like Ethiopians are chasing out poverty. Certainly, though the road may seem to be torturous, victory against poverty is obvious.
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
Celebrating March 8 has a matchless significance in acknowledging women’s struggle and triumph over gender-based right violations; social–economic , political and cultural benefits. Apart from applauding past heroines' deeds and creating awareness, the day has also created a platform to recognize, strengthen and mobilize support for women' rights and participation in the political and economic arena.
Most importantly, the day is a time to reflect on improvements made, to make a call for change and to overcome poverty and to showcase convictions made by women, who played amazing role in the history of their respective countries. “This year, we mark the day with the theme; “ The enhancement of women’s saving culture is the foundation for our renaissance.”
Yet, globally, very few women have played a significant role in socio-economic and political activities. Confronting traditional and cultural barriers women have become role -models for other members of the fair sex facing challenges.
Indeed, in our country there are women who succeeded in writing their names in golden inks. At this juncture it is worthwhile to mention Empress Taytu Bitule, who contributed to Ethiopian’s triumph over Italians during the Battle of Adwa. She had proved women’s bravery and competence on par with men if not better. She was a brilliant military strategist, grave digger of Italian troops at the Battle of Adwa. She had her own battalion. Inspiring others she had heroically fought in the battlefield.
The battle today has a different nature. Ethiopia today has locked horns with poverty not colonialism. Hence, ensuring women’s rights will lend a hand to the move of fostering economic development. Although the magnitude and nature of women rights violation differ from culture to culture and country to country, the discrimination suffered by Ethiopian women was deep-rooted and more unjust. The conspiracy of poverty with the above problems had led women's case go from the fraying pan to the fire.
Upholding women’s rights and their role in the nation’s economic development and democratization process, the government has taken a range of constructive measures such as putting and formulating laws, policies and strategies in the country’s constitution. It has endorsed legal frameworks, women policies and other protections. Besides, it has established women-focused ministry and carried out various affirmative actions to facilitate women’s equal economic benefit.
With regard to women rights, uninterruptedly, remarkable success stories have been registered in various economic social and political participation, among other interventions. Yes, capacitating and empowering women and also allowing them exercise leadership and bringing attitudinal changes are not enough guarantees in ensuring their rights. They are also key stimulants in fostering nation’s economic development and equal job opportunities.
In fact, currently, among 547 House of Representatives Seats, 212 of them are occupied by women. These role-models are practicing and widening political leadership. They are proving their mettle. They are involved in various national, continental and global issues too.
Outstandingly, women involvement in education has been mounting as the government sees education as an important key strategy for social and economic development. Besides, currently many women are deployed in ministerial and at state ministerial levels. But it does not mean they are equally sharing responsibilities, job opportunities due to previous gaps.
However, women’s role in the health sector has contributed a miraculous leap. Currently, over 38, 000 women are serving as health extension workers. They are discharging professional duties in the rural and urban areas of the nation. They have been trained and sent out to rural areas to serve all specially women. They have greatly contributed in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in the nation.
Furthermore, women are being economically benefiting, organizing themselves under micro and small enterprises. As a result, they have begun generating their own incomes. Some of them have been transformed into investors and entrepreneurs. They can create jobs opportunities for others. Consequently, nowadays, we are indeed witnessing emerging business women. But as they form half of the nation’s population size, their participation in business and other sectors is not still proportional. But the nation is making every effort to see to the observance of women's rights as most women do not exercise their rights accordingly.
To sum up, keeping other things in focus, although the government has been taking all-rounded women centered affirmative measures, women are supposed to utilize opportunities, starting from basic advantages guaranteed by the constitution. They have to overcome deeply entrenched negative attitudes and hangovers from burdens imposed on them and prove their equality by unleashing their capacity on top of utilizing affirmative actions.
Ethiopian is consolidating alliances among African airline service providers.
Ethiopian Airlines announced that it has concluded a codeshare agreement with Air Namibia which would enable both parties to expand their global networks.
The agreement also facilitates the provision of competitive and convenient travel choices to their respective customers.
Ethiopian Acting Vice President for Strategic Planning and Alliances Girma Shiferaw said such collaboration among African airlines is one of the requirements to see a thriving African aviation which would go in line with the economic development of the continent.
“Now customers of Air Namibia will enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian ever expanding global network across five continents with a minimum layover in Addis Ababa; conversely, our passengers will be able to access destinations beyond Windhoek on Air Namibia flights,’’ he added.
Air Namibia Acting Managing Director, Advocate Ellaine Priscilla Samson stated that the agreement contributes its part to liberalize African aviation sectors besides its importance to Namibia’s flag carrier to expand its network via the global network of Ethiopian Airlines.
“This will be an opportunity for the liberalization of intra-Africa air transport in furtherance of the Yamoussoukro Decision as two African carriers… hence the teaming of our two airlines is the consummate endeavor of our continent moving towards a fuller liberalization in the aviation sector,’’ she added.
The codeshare agreement will allow Ethiopian and Air Namibia to place their codes on each other’s flights.
Ethiopian Airlines operates the youngest fleet in the continent with an average age of less than five years. The airline currently serves over 90 global destinations across five continents with over 240 daily departures.
BY BILAL DERSO
Ethiopian Textile Development Institute would intensify efforts in curbing textile sector bottlenecks as textile exports had declined slightly in the first half current fiscal year.
The Institute Communication Director Banteyihun Gessesse told The Ethiopian Herald that country had planned to earn 165 million USD from textile exports last year,but it had secured 75 million USD. “ By the same token ,we exported textile worth 42 million USD in the first half current fiscal year. The goal was to secure 74 million USD .”
Explaining the reasons for not meeting the set goal, he cited the decline of global textile demand, lack of capacity , shortage of inputs , and the like.
According to Banteyihun , the institute is working aggressively to overcome the challenges through supervising companies, designating expertise and offering training, providing inputs, and creating market link, among others.
He added that a number of medium and large textile manufacturing industries are now operating in their full capacity to meet the local and global textile demands. “Apart from generating foreign currency,the textile companies are playing due role in knowledge transformation and technological l advancement .”
Currently, there are over 142 local and foreign textile companies in the country. Some 37 industries are also on the way to engage in textile investment, according to Banteyihun.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH