Where Is the Balance?

“You reject my ideas as a lone woman here today, but time will come when we will be too many making it impossible to defeat.”  – Sendeu Gebru

As we stand on the eve of the upcoming election, it is common and usual to see a political discourse among various political participants on our screens.  It’s a decent political matter to do so.  It’s what democracy is paved by.  With this being said, you may start saying, “Yeah, Meron, what are you trying to say?!”  Well, I am trying to remove the blindfold—the hands that are wrapped around our eyes.  Like it or not, we unfailingly are subjected to watch and listen to the men-based association of politically and academically renowned politicians and activists rolling the dice of the most important discussions of the country.  And this is not just a mere coincidence or the result of having very few, fit, bold women that can face the growing Ethiopian politics, rather it’s a matter of having a weak system that can bring out potential women-included political parties.

Basically, I think we can all agree on the fact that the treasures and intellectual paradise that could have been exploited from women with regards to election campaign is almost nonexistent given the confused men-centered dilemma our politics is suffering from.  Regardless of this plague and all the struggles women have faced, there are always tiebreakers.  Game changers.  In fact, for your surprise, the other day I was on public transportation when this story grasped my attention–an account of bravery that was challenged by the agony of men dominance.  It was about the iron lady, Senedu Gebru, during the reign of Haileselassie.  She was a solid woman, a hard nut to crack.  Gebru is a museum of alteration.  Her numerous collections of hard work made her stand out from the crowd and speak up.  Her modest innovative mindset produced a number of new ideas that many of her time couldn’t.  She campaigned for the parliament.  She fought, provoked, challenged, and sometimes discouraged but still made it all the way to the parliament.  During her term she tried to correct a huge criminal procedure: the flogging of criminals. This confrontation encountered a vast opposition.

The Gebru story demonstrates a reality that women are totally out of the political scene in Ethiopia.  While having a woman working her way through and defying her fellow competitors seems beyond reach, it is attainable.

Setting the lioness story aside for another brief script, I want to take your attention from where we began.  Why do we not see women on our political campaign scene?  Why do we not see women confronting and challenging ideas?  Why are women neglected and forced to watch hot political debates from the corner?  Don’t you find it disconcerting?  Don’t you ever wonder how it feels like to see women establishing hardcore political arguments?!  Because I do! I wonder how women sitting in one of those studio chairs exchanging words with different sides of the political coin would feel.  I believe that’s how every concerned body should speculate. After all, it is going to be odd and confusing to exclude half of the population from attaining these goals.

What are the reasons and setbacks then?  In a developing country such as ours, where feminism is viewed as the motto of the fancy and attention-seeking, and where associations of women are viewed as a no-where going entity, it’s consequential to see low participation in the political campaign.  This is why the government, in collaboration with concerned bodies, must be responsible to support women associations. This support can be manifested through encouraging laws that enhance the sustainability and participation of such organizations. A strong legal confirmation can be a big step forward on removing obstacles that keep women limited and handcuffed.

Let us see a society that would put an enormous amount of attention and resources on to leadership and guidance, building a generation with potential that can develop beyond the kitchen and blue-collar status.  The government should shower such organizations with the proper resources.  That’s why AWiB, with a proven record, is the suitable place for nurturing the roots of bold women we need not only on our political campaigns but in the various sectors of our country.  We need to give due recognition to all the silent, hard-working bees that are devoted to pursuing this great journey.

As a woman receives a heavenly miracle after a great deal of painful labor, it is time to see the fruit of the silent labor that women have been toiling!

Meron Damtew