Ethiopia is engaged in a swift pace of change, driven by its vision to become a middle-income country and carbon-neutral economy by 2025. The country’s economy is growing fast with a consistent double-digit growth rate over the last eight years, averaging 7 to 10 percent growth per year. To maintain this economic growth and facilitate rapid transformation, the country is implementing the 2010-2015 Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).
Poverty levels declined sharply from 38.7 percent in 2004/2005 to 29.6 percent in 2010/2011 (30.4 per cent in rural areas in comparison to 25.7 per cent in urban areas). The 2012 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report indicates that Ethiopia is likely to meet most of the MDGs before 2015, with the notable exception of MDG 3 (on the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women) and MDG 5 (on improving maternal health).
In the first parliament (1995 election), only 2.74 per cent of the seats were held by women. This increased to 27% of seats in the 2010 elections. The share of women in government offices is 42 per cent. The next general elections in 2015 will provide an opportunity to consolidate the progress which the country has seen in the level of women’s representation at the federal parliament over the last 20 years.
Women own only 19 percent of the land. Despite the fact that Ethiopian laws give equal property rights to women, tradition and women’s low social and economic status limit their ownership of assets. Only 38% of women were employed in 2011 in comparison to 80 percent of men, and only 14 percent of those who are employed worked for someone outside their family.
Violence against women and girls is still rampant in Ethiopia, with incidences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) amongst children aged 0 to 14 years old at 23%. According to the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey, two of every three women (68 percent) and one of every two men (45 percent) believe that wife beating is justified under specific circumstances.
Ethiopia is host to two important African regional bodies – the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. UN Women Ethiopia facilitates the partnership and engagement with UN Women at global and regional levels with these bodies.
Women lead and participate in politics, private sector and elections
UN Women Ethiopia aims to achieve higher representation of women in politics, economic activity and decision-making. To this end, the programme will have a two-fold approach: strengthening women’s transformative leadership in agribusiness and politics; and monitoring accountability mechanisms at federal and local levels to track public allocations for gender equality commitments.
Women, especially the poorest of the poor are economically empowered and benefit from development
UN Women Ethiopia aims at securing rural women, Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) and micro entrepreneurs’ livelihoods and rights, as a means to participate in and benefit from economic growth. Though women possess equal rights with men to access bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, they have not been able to use them effectively for different reasons such as limited awareness of facilities, lack of capital to access the credit services and lack of trust towards women entrepreneurs by society and financial institutions. To address this lack of access to financial and business development services as well as to markets UN Women Ethiopia will secure financing for targeted women, building the capacity of financial institutions and rural based associations to provide effective gender responsive services and products to women, providing financial and technical support to federal institutions on agricultural value chains and extractive industries to bridge women’s lack of access to markets for their products and services, and support women to run successful businesses through access to energy and time-saving green technologies.
Enabling legal and policy frameworks and institutions protecting women and girls from violence
UN Women Ethiopia aims to promote a legal framework that addresses Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in alignment with international human rights standards and to support multi-sectoral survivor-focused services for victims of VAWG. The programme will support service providers to development ethical and quality service provision, establishment a broad-based referral mechanism, coordination among the Minsitry of Justice, the judicial system and the police, and raise awareness among women leaders, journalists and writers on VAWG issues.