In Ethiopia, since the adoption of the National Policy on Women in 1993, various national policies on education and training, health, population and other areas have incorporated plans to boost women’s participation and gender equality (MoWCYA 2006). Ethiopia’s national development plans, including the current GTP, have embraced gender equality policies, and a National Action Plan (NAP) on gender equality has been developed. Regarding institutional support, the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MoWCYA) serves as the primary executing ministry with the mandate for implementing the policy framework on women and children’s issues. In the same way, regional Bureaux of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (BoWCYA) have been put in place and are responsible for mainstreaming and ensuring women’s rights (MoFED and UN, 2012).
Ethiopia suffers from some of lowest gender equality performance that is ranked at 127 out of 142 countries in terms of the magnitude and scope of gender disparities (Global Gender Gap report 2014). Women and girls in Ethiopia are strongly disadvantaged compared to boys and men in several areas, including literacy, health, livelihoods and basic human rights. They also suffer from low status in their society and lack social support networks. Manifestations of discrimination against women are numerous and acute.
Gender inequalities are persistent in the area of health and life expectancy, maternal mortality, and adult HIV prevalence. Women’s health is adversely affected problem of access to health care services, poverty and poor nutrition due to financial constraints and cultural believes.
The gender parity in school is high in higher level education, where enrolment of girls is lower than boys; although the gender parity in primary school enrolment is low. With regard to women’s participation in economic life; while women represent about half of labor force in Ethiopia, they have high unequal participation; most women employment are mainly on unpaid family works and self-employed in informal jobs. Moreover, despite the widespread involvement of rural women in agricultural work, there is a persistent belief that “women don’t farm,” which discounts their vital contribution to Ethiopia’s key economic activity. In addition, women’s illiteracy and inability to meet the initial payment required to qualify for agricultural credit has limited their access to credit facilities.
Traditional attitudes, beliefs and practices that reinforce harmful gender roles contribute to constrain women’s participation in social development. Harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation and child marriage disproportionately affect rural women and girls. Young women are being subjected to trafficking and other forms of exploitation as they strive to make a living outside of Ethiopia. The impacts of human trafficking are devastating. Victims may suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against themselves and their families, and even death.
The issue of women is well considered and given due attention by all policies and programs of the Federal and Regional Governments. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has declared its commitment to gender equality with the announcement of the National Policy on Women in 1993; the incorporation of gender issues in different national policies including Education and Training, Health, HIV/AIDS, Population and others formulated in the same year; as well as adequately addressing women’s concerns in the Federal Constitution of 1995.
To improve the house hold income of poor and marginalized women and girls by diversifying their means of livelihoods and engaging them in income generating activities so as to improve their decision making capability at household and community level
Women and Children are at the center of every intervention of MCMDO. Women empowerment is the crucial entry point in each program. Under this program MCMDO focus on;
MCMDO had implemented 16 projects under this thematic component. This component is also integrated in more than 70 projects as a cross cutting component. This contributes to promote gender equity, social and economic empowerment of women in the target areas.