Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women

A book to inspire girls and young women

This October, the first Amharic edition of a new book Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women will be released along with the opening of an exhibition entitled “Faces of Temsalet” featuring photographic images from the book.  The exhibition, at the Temporary Exhibition Hall at the National Museum in Amist Kilo, will be open to the public from October 8 through October 13 – an event not to be missed! Temsalet has been developed by the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Association to document and share widely the stories of 64 accomplished Ethiopian women – with the primary intention of inspiring girls and young women growing up in Ethiopia today to believe that they too can achieve in any field they choose and the secondary purpose of celebrating Ethiopian women.

The women featured in the book come from a wide array of occupations – including farmers, community organizers, construction workers, small and large entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, ambassadors, freedom fighters, an airline captain, athletes, social workers, non-profit organization leaders, members of parliament or of regional parliaments, ministers, and ambassadors.  They range in age from their 20’s to their 90’s, and each has helped to pioneer or advance women’s vigorous participation in her field of work.  Each woman tells her own story – her background, her motivations, her achievements, her challenges, and her hopes for young women and for the future.  Each woman’s story is accompanied by photographs taken by award-winning Ethiopian woman photographer Aïda Muluneh.

In addition to the stories, the book begins with a Foreword by H.E. W/ro Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the FDRE, and then a short essay by Rita Pankhurst on Ethiopian women in history highlighting a few stories of women from ancient and more recent historical times.   The compiling of the book, through extensive interviews and consultations with the featured women, under the direction of an advisory board of seventeen prominent women (including AWiB Founding President Nahu Senay Girma), was the work primarily of volunteers.  Twenty university students or recent graduates helped over the course of three and a half years to research, interview and help craft the women’s stories.  The book was edited by Mary-Jane Wagle, an American volunteer, and published by Tsehai Press of Los Angeles, California. In addition to the book, the project launched a website – www.ethiopianwomenunleashed.org –  featuring profiles of nearly 100 women interviewed for the project – and continues to add more stories as more women are interviewed.  The women featured in the book are just some of the many remarkable women working today in Ethiopia and in the diaspora; they were selected to portray examples of women working in a wide range of occupations and from a wide range of backgrounds and because of the inspirational character of their stories.

Through the participation of 13 organizations as partners in this project (Sweden, UN Women, the East Africa Bottling Share Company/CocaCola, the Civil Society Support Program, Girl Hub Ethiopia/DFID, European Union, Irish Aid, Ipas Ethiopia, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Embassy of France in Addis Ababa, the Embassy of the United States in Addis Ababa, Mujujegwa Loka WDA and FAWE-Ethiopia), 30,000 books have been printed and will be distributed free of charge to secondary schools, TVET schools, teacher ducation schools, and organizations working to empower girls and young women.

An English coffee table edition and a second Amharic paperback edition will be released later in the year for sale to the public both in Ethiopia and abroad, with royalties to the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations to support NEWA’s work to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in Ethiopia.   For news about when the books will be available, please contact the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations at newaethiopia@gmail.com or temsalet2014@gmail.com.