International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day Celebration in Ethiopia - Bahir Dar, Amhara Regional State
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Bahar Dar, 12.3.2016 - With over 550 participants, the International Women’s Day was colorfully celebrated for the 40th time in Bahir Dar, Amhara Regional State, under the theme “By ensuring good governance, let us guarantee women’s equal participation and contribution”. The IWD2016 was celebrated in the presence of the State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA), the Head of Amhara Bureau of Women and Children Affairs (BOWCA) and the Deputy Speaker of Amhara Council and Chair of Women and Children Standing Committee of the House of People’s Representative (HPR) with the support of UN Women. Ms. Fantay Tibebu, Head of Amhara BOWCA made the opening remarks and highlighted that women’s role in ensuring good governance is significant. She further noted the need to strengthen women structures in order to ensure effective women’s participation and contributions. Ms. Bizunesh Meseret, MoWCA State Minister, opened the event by highlighting the changes that have been made in ensuring gender equality in the economic, social and political spheres in the country.
In addition to that, she also remarked that Ethiopia has passed relevant policy and legal frameworks and is currently implementing various programmes to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ms. Bizunesh noted that the government of Ethiopia has put specific measurable targets on women’s participation. She further underscored that women are particularly affected by corruption and bad governance and noted the need to work on safeguarding good governance. She closed her remarks by calling on all women to play a role in meeting the Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTPII) targets. The four heads of the different bureaus then lit two candles to mark the commemoration of the 21st and 40th celebrations of the International Women’s Day in Amhara region and Ethiopia respectively.
The event also included two presentations on child marriage mapping and governance, the main theme of the event. The first presentation on good governance provided a background on March 8th and linked the global theme of the International Women’s Day with the national theme by highlighting the need for women to drive the good governance agenda in the country. The presentation underlined some of the main governance problems as Violence against Women and Girls, (VAWG), women’s loss of title deeds, lack of equal division of common property during divorce and law enforcement problems among others. The paper indicated the need to raise awareness and ensure women’s access to information as key strategies in order to fight poor governance problems. It was also mentioned that women’s active involvement in the Ethiopian Women Development Army, (WDA) is also important where currently close to 5,000,000 women are members. A study on child marriage mapping was also shared. The analysis on the Demographic Health Survey and Census of Ethiopia from 2011 were presented and provided data on the prevalence of child marriage in the various regions and hot spots weredas within Amhara region. General reflections on the presentations were made by the panelists, who identified the need to invest on women’s education in order to ensure good governance and to fight Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs). The importance of ensuring experience sharing workshops among regions/weredas where there is zero tolerance on HTPs was also agreed.
The event also gave attention to the introduction of innovative women friendly technologies, which were presented by Captain Yishak Kalu. Ms. Yishak Kalu introduced several innovations which have had positive results and impact on women’s lives such as a material that can be used to burn charcoal quickly, a convenient bag to carry and hold water for long distances and a stove with a specific type of wood that can cook food quickly. He also emphasized on the need to promote women friendly technologies that ensure women’s productivity and encourage new employment/business opportunities.
The event was closed by awarding 15 Women Development Army members of the Amhara region with a certificate of recognition and 5,000 ETB for having performed well in the region. The Women Development Armys were assessed based on criteria such as: increasement in the number of members, decreasement of HTPs, enhanced saving among members and performance of good health practices through the delivery of birth at the health centers, among others.