Seminar on Women and Gender Issues
Women and Gender in Ethiopia: state of research and possible future directions
Thursday 24th November, 2 PM
@ CFEE – French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Berhanu Abebe Library
By Dr Tirsit Sahledengil (IES, AAU) & Dr Pierre Guidi (CFEE, IRD).
In this session of the seminar “Locations of Women’s Voices and Power in Ethiopia”, we propose first to look back at research conducted in Ethiopia on women and gender since the 1990s. Based on the main Ethiopian academic publications, we will provide a synthesis by focusing on the major themes under study, the methodologies and theoretical frameworks that are used, as well as the scientific literature that is mobilized.
In a second step, we will draw on these results to submit possible future directions for research – that we wish to discuss with the seminar audience -, taking inspiration from the main current academic trends and debates about women and gender in Africa and, more generally, in the Global South.
Seminar “Locations of Women’s Voices and Power in Ethiopia”
Addis Ababa University & French Center for Ethiopian Studies
Academic Year 2022-2023
The monthly seminar “Locations of Women’s Voices and Power in Ethiopia”, to be held on the academic year 2022-2023 at Addis Ababa University and the French Center for Ethiopian Studies, is to strengthen networks of researchers working on gender in the Ethiopian academy. It will focus on women’s voices and power in different Ethiopian contexts and situations, and seek to new conceptualization to enhance research carried out in Ethiopia and participate in the theoretical work on gender produced today in the Global South. While being very attentive to relations of power, contributors are invited to move beyond the analysis of women as victims, to focus on their agency in order to understand how they negotiate or contest patriarchal structures to advance their autonomy, recognition, and power (Belete, 2001). Studies can be drawn from very various settings: rural and urban, within different social classes and cultural groups, with women engaged in different kinds of labor and activities in the private and the public sphere. Works presented may be in any discipline of the social sciences and humanities, or may deliberately adopt a transdisciplinary approach.
In addition to this thematic approach based on agency, we have the ambition to enrich the theory of women and gender in Ethiopia in drawing directly on women’s experience. Therefore, in relying on the rich literature already produced in Ethiopia and through new field works, contributors are strongly encouraged to pay full attention to the ways in which Ethiopian women interpret their own experience and to show, as much as possible, their raw data (interviews, field notes etc.) to the audience. The objective is to make women voices visible and to foster methodological and theoretical discussions. How do women name, classify and explain the gender relations they live in ? How do they eventually try to change them and what are their expectations for the future ? In trying to find new conceptualization based on Ethiopian women’s realities and interpretations, the seminar « Locating Women Voices and Power in Ethiopia » advocate an inclusive approach which give a better place to women voices. So doing, the seminar aims to contribute to the research agenda elaborated since the 1990s by social scientists working on gender in Africa (Lewis, 2002), Asia and Latin America, who address the challenge “to create spaces of theoretical discussion with many more voices and wider and deeper agenda” (Connel, 2014).
Belete Bizuneh (2001), “Women in Ethiopian History: A Bibliographic Review”, Northeast African Studies, 8 (3): 7-22.
Connell, Raewyn (2014), “Rethinking Gender from the South”, Feminist Studies, 3 (40): 518–40.
Lewis, Desiree (2002), “African Gender Research and Postcoloniality: Legacies and
Challenges,” paper presented to CODESRIA Gender Institute.