Increased participation and representation of women in leadership in Ethiopia

Contract partner: UN WOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of WomenCountry: Äthiopien Funding amount: € 1.500.000,00Project start: 01.12.2019End: 31.12.2021

Short Description:

Overall goal

The program "Increased participation and representation of women in leadership in Ethiopia" will focus on enhancing the leadership competencies of women leaders particularly of the legislative and executive branch of the government. Through capacity building both at federal and regional level the members will be capacitated to be gender sensitive and responsive both internally and in their oversight role. Facilitating mentorship opportunities to lower level women leaders, assures their leadership ability is enhanced and enables them to climb the leadership ladder. These measures will increase the pool of able upcoming women leaders in Ethiopia.

Expected results

a) A pool of interested, diverse and capable women leaders and decision makers is formed.

b) Women are perceived as equally legitimate and effective political leaders as men.

c) Women are promoted as leaders in gender sensitive political institutions.

The following outputs are intended under the three outcomes above:

- Increased technical capacity of women to compete for both elective and appointive leadership positions within national and regional government. (800 women leaders engaged in mentoring young women aspirants)

- A network of women leaders across all sectors is established and strengthened. (2 network conferences)

- Increased community and civic understanding of gender equality and women’s right to political participation.

- The media promotes positive portrayals of women leaders and gender equality as a social goal. (15 media reports that highlight the work of women)

- Increased availability of data and analysis on the equal representation and effective participation of women in leadership positions in the government. (8 research studies)

- Improved capacity of elected representatives to discharge their legislative, representative and oversight functions in a gender-responsive manner. (10 male political leaders acting through HeForShe-Solidarity-Movement)

- Women members of parliament have enhanced capacity to lead and effectively participate in parliamentary functions and to articulate practical and strategic needs of their constituencies. (50% increase in leadership skills)

Target group / Beneficiaries

The program will be implemented at the federal level and in regional states of Afar, Amhara, Gambela, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray. The House of Peoples Representatives, regional councils, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and its regional counterparts, Ethiopia Broadcasting Authority, print and broadcast media companies, education institutions at federal and regional level, Community Based Organizations and Civil Society Organisations (such as Women and Youth Associations, Women Development Groups, Ethiopian Lawyers Association, Network of Ethiopian Women Associations) are among the main stakeholders.

The program will target approximately 8.460 direct beneficiaries.

The number of indirect beneficiaries is approximately 265.000 (women, family and community members, journalists, listeners/readers/viewers).



Activities will be implemented in three areas:

a) Capacity development and mentorship:

Successive trainings for women leaders at lower and middle level leadership positions that will enhance both the leadership skill and gender knowledge of participants.

Linking them with women leaders in Africa for experience sharing and peer-to-peer learning is part of the capacity building strategy of the program.

Facilitating mentorship opportunities for young women aspirants seeking to hold higher positions in the public services.

b) Awareness promotion, community mobilization and advocacy:

Awareness promotion among members of mass-based organisations such as women and youth associations.

Community dialogues on the issue of women’s participation and representation in leadership.

The capacity of media will be built setting norms towards gender sensitive reporting.

c) Data collection and analysis, knowledge generation and promoting dialogue/discussion forum:

Policy-oriented research and systematic data collection on the representation, participation and access to leadership positions of women will be carried out.

A mentorship curriculum will be produced and widely disseminated. The findings will be used to organise dialogue forums bringing together opinion makers, women organisations and policy makers.

Support to a partner university to deliver a seminar on gender sensitive research methodology.


While it is important to acknowledge the success in increasing the representation of women in political processes particularly in the legislative branch of the government in Ethiopia, it is also key to recognize the obstacles women are facing in advocating for gender equality and women’s rights. One significant barrier which requires attention is women’s marginalization within the executive branch of government. In Ethiopia, the challenge women face in holding decision making positions and - once they hold these positions - influence decision making is a combination of practical, cultural and attitudinal barriers. Among them are lesser access to education, women’s triple roles (the disproportionate burden of women’s domestic roles); stereotypical attitude towards women’s leadership (men as natural leaders and entitled to make decisions in family and workplace); women’s low self-esteem; gender-based discrimination; poverty, economic insecurity and financial vulnerability of women; harmful traditional practices such as early marriages. Such portrayal is highly promoted by media and advertisements in the country. The changes in the legal frameworks are not yet completed nor are they properly reflected in prevailing workplace attitudes, in public and private life.

One of the decisive elements to hold leadership position particularly in the civil service is education status. Women continue to have lower academic qualifications than men and are not able to compete for decision making/managerial positions. Data is scarce when it comes to the private and non-governmental sector to assess the level of participation of women in leadership and decision-making positions.

The program aims to contribute to the achievement of SDG Goals 5, 10 and 16.

project number2844-00/2019
source of fundingOEZA
sector Staatsführung & Zivilgesellschaft, allgemein
modalityContributions to specific-purpose programmes and funds managed by international organisations (multilateral, INGO)
marker Gender: 2, Democracy: 1
  • Policy marker: are used to identify, assess and facilitate the monitoring of activities in support of policy objectives concerning gender equality, aid to environment, participatory development/good governance, trade development and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Activities targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions include the identification of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and desertification.
    • 1= policy is a significant objective of the activity
    • 2= policy is the principal objective of the activity
  • Donor/ source of funding: The ADA is not only implementing projects and programmes of the Austrian Development Cooperation , but also projects funded from other sources and donors such as
    • AKF - Foreign Disaster Fund of the Austrian federal government
    • BMLFUW - Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
    • EU - Funds of the European Commission
    • Others - various other donors are listed in ADA’s annual business report.
  • Type of Aid – Aid modalities: classifies transfers from the donor to the first recipient of funds such as budget support, core contributions and pooled programmes and funds to CSOs and multilateral organisations, project-type interventions, experts and other technical assistance, scholarships and student costs in donor countries, debt relief, administrative costs and other in-donor expenditures.
  • Purpose/ sector code: classifies the specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure, funded by a bilateral contribution.
  • Tied/Untied: Untied aid is defined as loans and grants whose proceeds are fully and freely available to finance procurement from all OECD countries and substantially all developing countries. Transactions are considered tied unless the donor has, at the time of the aid offer, clearly specified a range of countries eligible for procurement which meets the tests for “untied” aid.