Enough is Enough Ending the Conflict is Essential for the Nation’s Very Survival

The 2018 political shift in Ethiopia initially sparked optimism for the advancement of women’s rights. Under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian government implemented reforms that garnered global attention. Women’s representation in leadership saw a dramatic increase, with half of the ministerial positions being filled by women and women taking the helm of the presidency, the Supreme Court, and the national election board. These reforms extended to regional and local levels, fostering hope of a genuinely inclusive future for Ethiopian women.

These bold decisions resonated with the public, contributing to the ruling party’s victory in the 2021 national election. However, this period of progress was tragically short-lived. Shortly before and after the elections, the nation plunged into widespread conflict, with women and children bearing the brunt of the suffering.

Across various regions, including Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, and Benishangul-Gumuz, women have become prime targets of horrific gender-based violence. Gang rapes, kidnappings, killings, and forced displacements have become commonplace. These acts of violence inflict not only physical but also severe emotional and psychological trauma.

While the initial reforms offered a beacon of hope for Ethiopian women, the ongoing conflict has cast a dark shadow over their hard-earned progress. Though seemingly gaining momentum, the fight for equality and justice has encountered a formidable obstacle.

It is crucial to remember that the conflict does not erase the advancements made towards gender equality. Though short-lived, the reforms implemented signify a shift in the national discourse and recognition of women’s critical role in building a just and peaceful society.

Addressing the ongoing conflict is vital to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Ethiopians, particularly women and children. Only through sustained efforts towards peace and continued commitment to gender equality can Ethiopia fulfil the promise of a brighter future for all its citizens.

The initial surge of female representation in Ethiopia’s government, with ministerial positions reaching 50%, has seen a disheartening decline to below 40%. This regression coincides with the devastating conflict gripping the nation. Once poised for more excellent agency, women now face immense challenges in exercising their rights and freedoms.

The widespread gender-based violence plaguing various regions demands a forceful response. The horrific consequences – physical, emotional, and psychological trauma – necessitate tough decisions from political leaders. The conflict has become unsustainable, weakening the economy and fracturing society. The nation’s remarkable economic progress of the past two decades is now at risk.

There’s no justification for armed conflict to settle political differences. A clear and ample space for peaceful solutions must be established, eliminating any

justification for violent political struggle. The human cost, measured in lost lives and shattered futures, is too high. The time for rhetoric has passed. Ethiopia needs a resolute “enough is enough” from its leaders. Ending the conflict is no longer desirable; it is essential for the nation’s survival. EBR

12th Year • March 2024 • No. 127

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