A Hidden History: Women’s Activism in Ethiopia


A Hidden History: Women’s Activism in Ethiopia
By Gemma Burgess
Abstract
In Ethiopia a woman’s identity is linked to her family and the prescribed gender role as a
mother and home-maker, yet throughout Ethiopia’s history there are examples of women who
have roles that extend beyond the home and family into public, political life. This paper briefly
describes this dominant gender identity of Ethiopian women before charting the changes to
Ethiopian politics and women’s place within them. It discusses how the shift to democratic
politics opened new spaces for women’s civil society activism. However, more recent political
moves towards greater repression of civil society have closed the space for women’s public,
political activism, leaving the future of women’s public role in question.
Key Words: Women’s activism, Ethiopia, hidden history

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