A Legacy of Powerful Queens and Modern-Era Barriers to Women in Politics

Ethiopia presents a fascinating paradox. Its history boasts a remarkable lineage of mighty queens, exemplified by the visionary leadership of Empress Taytu in securing victory at the battle of Adwa against Italian colonizers. The story of Queen of Sheba and Empress Zewditu further paints a positive history of women as leaders in Ethiopia. Yet, despite this legacy, deep-seated cultural norms and religious beliefs often confine women to domestic roles. This, compounded by the prevalent issue of gender-based violence, creates a formidable barrier to women’s entry and advancement in the political sphere.

While Ethiopia holds a commendable position globally for women’s parliamentary representation, exceeding 40%, a closer look reveals a concerning reality. These seats are primarily filled through quotas rather than a robust system fostering organic advancement based on merit and capability. This crucial distinction exposes a fundamental flaw—quotas, while well-intentioned, often serve as a band-aid solution, failing to address the root causes of women’s underrepresentation. This approach ultimately limits women’s ability to exert genuine influence on policy formulation and decision-making processes.

EBR’s Iliyas Kifle delves into how these entrenched hurdles can be overcome. He proposes initiatives that tackle the immediate symptoms and the underlying factors perpetuating the issue.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

2Q69+2MM, Jomo Kenyatta St, Addis Ababa

Tsehay Messay Building

Contact Us

+251 961 41 41 41
Addis Maleda