In Ethiopia, half of the girls get married before 17.1 years of age. Three quarters of them then immediately drop school. In some cases because they are busy with the house chores, in some cases because the new husband does not allow them to continue. This reduces significantly their education and personal development, and later on, also health and development of their children. Statistics prove that women with lower education are at higher risk of gender-based violence, maternal mortality; their children are more at risk of malnutrition, not receiving important vaccinations and health care. The worth of women in Ethiopia is measured based on the role she plays as a wife and mother.
More than 85 percent of Ethiopian women live in rural areas. They experience extreme hardship in their lives, doing everything from carrying heavy loads over long distances, cooking, raising children, working at home and manually grinding corn. They have far less opportunities for education, employment, and personal growth when compared to men. At the same time, only 37 percent of men assist with house chores, from which majority only rarely.
Access to health services is often limited, and hygienic conditions in rural areas are unacceptable. Girls do not have any means of managing their periods and skip school when they have their days to avoid embarrassment. Absolute lack of safe, private and clean toilets or clean water at schools create additional barrier for girls to attend school.
Some changes in the way women in Ethiopia are treated can be noticed in urban areas, where they can access health care, employment, and education. However, for the majority of girls and women early marriage remains the only way of securing their future.
Our organization continues to work toward ending gender inequality and empowering women in access to education, finding funding and jobs opportunities and setting their goals. ECYDO works towards changing the social norms and challenging the gender stereotypes by dialogues with communities. The potential of girls and women can be an enormous contribution to the socio-economic development of the society.