Transformative Spaces

AWiB, as an association committed to nurturing female leadership in Ethiopia through personal development is pleased to announce the publication of one of the first books on Ethiopian women’s leadership – Transformative Spaces: Enabling Authentic Female Leadership Through Self-Transformation – The Case of AWiB.

The book authored by Billene Seyoum Woldeyes (former AWiB board member and immediate past-president (2013) has been published in May 2014 through a German publishing house – LIT Verlag GmbH & Co.

Transformative Spaces is the 10th volume of the University of Innsbruck Peace Studies book series and edited by the university’s UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dietrich. The book explores the principles of the newly emerging field of “authentic leadership” and how it can be developed among urban Ethiopian women to affect social change. Set within a context that is not yet fully conducive to women’s accelerated climb up the positional ladder and decision making authority, the author argues that spaces like AWiB can be powerful transformative spaces enabling women to collectively challenge and address cultural factors that impede their leadership potential. Through a personal story of self-transformation weaved in with accounts of other Ethiopian women’s perspective about and experience with AWiB, the author proposes that developing and sustaining such spaces is important towards initiating self-transformation for social change.

The Ethiopian corporate, political and institutional stages are still bereft of adequate female representation in the higher echelons of decision making. The barriers to attaining positional leadership continue to point towards cultural factors among other structural barriers. Transformative Spaces raises important questions about the intricate and often times challenging effect of culture on female leadership among Ethiopian women. By analyzing the most commonly cited culturally learned behaviors that hold Ethiopian women back from reaching their leadership potential, the author also offers suggestions on how and where educated Ethiopian women can make their influence felt.  In its contribution to academia in the country, it raises many questions that require further research and understanding in our society, especially as it relates to female leadership as well as the use of spaces in which women congregate. In its primary contribution to the young woman, it serves as a reflection tool or a point of departure upon which “she” can initiate positive changes in her life towards becoming her own authentic leader.

Originally written as a Masters thesis and later adapted and edited into a book, Transformative Spaces is a mix of poetry, a personal story and theory on how women-centric organized spaces can cultivate authentic female leaders by initiating self-transformation.