Ashenafi Zedebub

Nowadays, it is not at all strange to see women being posted at a higher – or even  at the highest top sometimes – level in either government or non-government organizations.  Today, we seen women named or elected to hold office of a prime minister, minister, bank president, CEO of  insurance establishments and other organizations; to see them appointed  as speaker of parliament, as a judge, as notary public, as editor-in-chief of mass media and what not.

“Women at the top” as very high ranking politicians is not at all a rare occurrence in our world today.  For instance; until very recently, Mrs. Clinton happened to hold a post as head of the foreign office of what they call “the strongest nation under the sun” – The United States of America.  Mrs. Angela Merkel heads a government of a leading industrial  nation of Europe – The Federal Republic of Germany – as Federal Chancellor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also led by a woman.

Here in our country , Ethiopia, we have as well  some women  appointed as ministers, ministers of state, vice ministers, ambassadors,  head of government agencies, judges, and so on and so forth.  It is  indeed worth mentioning here that Mrs. Shitaye Minalu is  the Deputy Speaker of the House of  Representatives , a woman, who is  now and then seen conducting correctly  and  in full confidence   the meeting of legislators  in the absence of the chief  speaker of the House.

Going out to the private sectors, we have also notable women as high ranking executives. For instance; Mrs. Mulu Solomon, President of  the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association is not at all to be overlooked. A young – but a fast-growing financial establishment – Abay Bank S.C., has  also a woman  at its top.  Mrs. Besenbet  Shenkute is the President of the Bank ever since it began to operate lawfully.

In this sense, one may without any doubt come to the conclusion that a social advancement and improvement of the status of women is – in particular in a conservative and old-styled society like ours-  on the move, in spite of all  worthless objections, rootless allegations and arguments.

However,  I still doubt of their sincerity  in pertinent to their so-called “equality” .Are  women in Ethiopia  really, heartily  interested in their emancipation ? It is not just without any reason that I have raised this question or it is not at all a question merely for the sake of questioning. I have adequate reason for it.  For example;  a woman – no matter where she is or what type of a post she holds – is usually seen to be at the mercy of her parents, guardians or whosoever comes as an elderly person in her family.  Assuming she wants to be married to a man she happens to love, she first and foremost asks the would-be husband to find few influential persons – sometimes she takes the lead to nominate such people on his behalf –  to act as go-betweens as to ask the parents or guardians and to negotiate matters pertinent to the marriage. In other words, she would seek permission through someone  in order to be the “life partner” of  the “beloved ones”.

Much to our surprise, such dependence on go-betweens doesn’t occur  in the rural area or in people of the grassroots  only. It happens even in large cities and amongst women who are – or at least claim to be – educated. Mind you, let us take one instance: A judge, who happens to pass sentences on serious court case and who is having a  chair to determine ones life either  for good or for  bad, looks for people of much less education to render advice and also ask her parents or guardians as to give the green light for her marriage. This means that such a woman would only be able to judge others and do not at all know how  to decide on her own issue.  Concerning such  matters, they usually argue that  the “good old tradition, custom, culture, etc…” has of a great value, forgetting that such tradition should be left as démodé and that is all.

On the other hand, there is also another question : Are women always the only ones to be victims of domestic abuse or even physical violence? Men are usually ashamed to tell , specially in Ethiopia, about their maltreatment by women.  There are women who even deprive men of sexual intercourse, just because they do not give the monthly money to meet  the expenses in a manner suitable to the wife. Physical violence is also seen now and then , but men do not talk  such issues .

I myself have witnessed such matters . What about you ?

 

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