The world agreed on the importance of gender equality. However, the implementation has been slow in many parts. For many years, there have been many struggles for equal political participation of women and men. As a result, women’s right to political participation is recognized around the world. However, there is still much to be done to create the right environment for women to exercise their rights.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on its website: Asks, “Why is this issue high on the agenda in the 21st century?”. It went on to say that the world will not achieve the social and economic development it aspires as long as half of the population are ignored and excluded from decision making. It noted that there are still structural, socio-economic, institutional, and cultural barriers to the political participation of women.
Though there are improvements, political parties in Ethiopia failed to consider women’s participation in their parties. Among the parties, only one had a women leader, and the number of candidates was limited.
On the eve of the 6th national election, the participation of women in the pre-selection process was considered as a motivational factor for parties by the National Electoral Board (NEB).
Assuming political participation in Ethiopia has harsh consequences, many comments that it’s dangerous for men, let alone for women. This has been criticized by various civil society organizations, which have pushed for women’s participation. As to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it has stated that women’s empowerment and accountability in various government offices are motivating other women.
Ethiopia is on the right track in that regard. Currently, Ethiopia has 50% cabinet members in the government. According to a recent report, the United Nations Women Affairs (UN WOMEN) highly appreciates this improvement. The statistics released by the organization on the participation of women in politics and leadership, women’s participation in parliament has increased by 11.3 percent worldwide in 1995 to 24.3 percent in 2019. By the end of 2019, there would have been 11 women presidents and 12 prime ministers worldwide.
Rwanda has the largest number of women in parliament in Africa. This is because 61.3% of the seats are held by women. In contrast, some parliaments do not include women.
At the ministerial level, there are five main areas where women are appointed. One is social issues. They are followed by family (children, youth, people with disabilities, and the elderly), natural resources, job creation, and trade and industry.
According to the United Nations, by mid-2019, there were only three countries with more than 50 percent women in parliament. Next to Rwanda are Cuba and Bolivia.