Supporting women leaders and aspirants to unleash their potential
In Ethiopia, women’s participation in leadership and decision-making positions are very low due to persistent unequal practices and negative gender serotypes, lack of mandatory regulatory frameworks and insufficient implementation of laws and policies. To address these challenges, UN Women Ethiopia strategically target women leaders in public institutions at all levels including aspirants and women with disabilities to unleash their potential to be transformative leaders and advocates of gender equality measures through consecutive capacity development and mentorship interventions to enhance both the leadership skills and experiences.
Yayesh Alamrew, the Deputy Head of the West Gojam Zone Job Creation and Training Department, is one of 218 women leaders who benefited from the Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality (TLGE) training and mentorship programme, laid down by UN Women Ethiopia in collaboration with Amhara National Regional State Bureau of Women, Children and Social Affairs (Amhara BoWCSA).
“I was able to come out of the depression I was in due to my divorce. I am now able to express my ideas without fear. I have become strong and hopeful. I am in a place where I am able to coach and teach other women who have gone through the same struggles as me. I have learned so much from my experiences of sadness and fear that I believe I can help others overcome their issues.” Said Yayesh said when asked about the benefits she got from the mentorship programme as a mentee.
 Women hold 33% leadership positions in federal and 17 % in Amhara region.
In the mentorship initiative, senior and experienced women leaders linked with junior women leaders and aspirants to share leadership, personal and career development experiences and support the lower-level women leaders and aspirants to increase their confidence and hold high-level leadership and decision-making positions.
Etsegenet Amlak, another mentee from the mentorship program said “that the mentorship program enabled her to make independent decisions; manage time properly; express her ideas efficiently; live up to her values; deliver tasks as per the plan and balance her social life and work life.
When asked about the TLGE training Etsegenet was provided with, she said “after I took the training, there was a noticeable change in my work and I was promoted to Zonal level, Women, Children and Youth Affairs Department. Due to the training I received, I was able to lead the institution properly. The training helped me identify and unleash my potential and strengths. Before I received the training, I had a somewhat careless personality. When I notice things happening at work that was not supposed to happen, I wouldn’t take action or intervene. But now that I see the ability to make decisions in myself, I don't stand idly by when inappropriate things happen.”
The mentorship graduation ceremony was held on 8th October 2022. By taking the key lessons and experiences from the mid-term review meeting and graduation workshop, the second mentorship linkages and opportunities created for 122 women leaders including aspirants through one-to-one-mentorship approach.
So far, UN Women Ethiopia in collaboration with Amhara BoWCSA linked 218 women leaders including aspirants to support each other in two rounds. In the first round, 48 one-to-one mentorship links created successfully in which 48 mentors (senior women leaders) signed mentorship agreement on 11 May 2022 to support 48 mentees (junior women leaders and aspirants) for 4 months. The mid-term review meeting and experience sharing was held in August 2022 to share experiences and take key lessons for the second mentorship linking and accesses opportunities.
The mentorship initiative is supported by the fund of Austria Development Agency (ADA) and also SN donors including Sweden and Norway.