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Poverty Has a Woman’s Face: Exploring Economic Independence

March 7 @ 5:30 pm 9:00 pm

Poverty Has a Woman’s Face

Exploring Economic Independence

Poverty Has a Woman’s Face Exploring Economic Independence - Women's Month

Hilton Hotel

March 7, 2024 at 5:30 – 9 PM

1100 ETB: Non-Members

Complementary: Members

Poverty Has a Woman’s Face: Exploring Economic Independence

As March is Women’s Month, AWiB in recognition of this yearly grand cause shares HER platform with women’s organizations in Ethiopia to bring out leadership, creativity, and sustainability concepts to model the way.

This year we turn our attention to the persistent challenge women face – poverty. Amounting to about 50 % of the population, women’s potential is a resource far from being utilized and this may be a critical issue that is holding us back as a nation from attaining our full potential. We need to explore creative approaches we can use to ensure that women are given equal opportunities to build their capabilities, strengthen their capacity, learn, earn, and lead.

Poverty, at its core, is not solely the lack of income; it extends back to lack of opportunities, choices, and power. Its impact on women is felt globally, affecting millions of individuals. According to the World Bank, women constitute more than 70% of the world’s poor. As women are the foundations of families, when one woman is affected, the shock extends to the whole family and community. This is a matter that needs our urgent attention! 

UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is “Count Her In: Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”. AWiB in celebrating this month introduces “Poverty has a Woman’s Face: Exploring Economic Independence”. When a majority of women are living in poverty or are economically dependent it is inevitable that it has economic implications for the country as well. 

The journey toward economic independence for women frequently comes with multiple barriers, forming a complex web of challenges. Discrimination, violence, limited educational opportunities, the weight of unpaid care work, and a lack of access to financial services are just a few. These challenges intertwine, creating a formidable barrier that hinders the ability of women to break free from the cycle of poverty.

When a woman is economically independent and is part of a supportive community, she creates resilient families. Let’s explore the potential pathways to attain economic inclusion of women and the transformation of our nation.

Talking Points
  1. What are the root causes that lead women to poverty and keep them in that cycle? 
  2. What are the best practices of successful organizations in Ethiopia working on Women’s financial independence? 
  3. Why is this a critical issue that needs urgent solutions and what practical actions can our leaders take to address it?
Tsigie Haile Founder & Director of Women in Self Employment - WISE

Tsigie Haile is the Founder & Director of Women in Self-Employment (WISE). She has an MBA from the Netherlands and worked for over 22 years at Addis Ababa University, both in the administrative and academic wings, holding positions ranging from Secretary to Department Head and Lecturer in the Department of Management. After leaving the University, she joined the non-profit sector and worked for ActionAid Ethiopia for four years in the capacity of Human Resource Development Manager.   While working at ActionAid, she decided to set up WISE and work with low-income, underprivileged women and girls. 

WISE was established with the support of ActionAid Ethiopia in 1997 and is currently one of the renowned women-centered development organizations and a leader in women’s economic empowerment in the country.  The Organization has assisted over 100 thousand underprivileged women living in urban and rural areas of Ethiopia in their efforts to improve their livelihoods and exercise their rights.

Samrawit Tassew Women Peace, law, security expert Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Samrawit Tassew is an expert in the fields of peace and security, law, media, and advocacy.  She has worked both for public and private entities at regional and national levels. Currently, she is the founder and head of Lulawi Connections Consult, a consultancy firm specializing in comprehensive advocacy, communications, media, and stakeholder management projects.  

Her diverse professional background has equipped her with an understanding of various issues, enabling her to analyze complex social challenges impartially—a crucial quality for a practitioner in peace and security. Serving as the editor-in-chief for Fortune Newspaper provided her with profound insights into Ethiopia’s socio-economic and political landscape, recognizing the nation’s potential as a significant regional and global contributor to peace and security development. 

As an Advocacy and Communication adviser on Women’s Peace and Security at the African Union Commission, Samrawit demonstrated her commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s rights. Her responsibilities have extended to designing and executing public dialogue facilitation, moderation, and leading training programs. With articulate communication, robust public leadership, and adept problem-solving skills, Samrawit brings a passionate dedication to her work, particularly in the realm of gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights.

Desset Abebe UNWOMEN Program Specialist

Desset is a Program Specialist at UNWOMEN. Before taking this role, she worked in the public service particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commissions. Throughout her career, Desset focused on empowering communities to claim their rights and benefit from them while enhancing the awareness of duty bearers of their responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfill. Empowering women to lead and enable them to claim their rightful space in public life.

Her education–law, and life passion – unleashing the human potential drives her work. Desset earned her first degree in Law from Haromaya University (LLB), Ethiopia. Human Rights and Democratization in Africa at Pretoria University (LLM), South Africa, and Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University (BA).

Desset believes in the power of communities as well as individuals to transform the world for the good. Her motivation in life is to witness a strong sisterhood that truly focuses on building each other. Hence, she also served AWiB as a Board and president where she had the opportunity to implement some of the sisterhood programs that were needed.

Poverty Has a Woman’s Face: Exploring Economic Independence


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