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The Millennium Development Goals and the Status of Gender Disparity in Ethiopia: Achievements and Challenges

Solomon Gebreyohans Gebru, Memar Ayalew Demeke


Recognizing the magnitude of the global gender gap and its unbearable consequences, the UN included the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of its 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), declared in 2000. Ethiopia adopted the MDGs and has been incorporating them into its consecutive Core Strategic Polices, with the commitment to realize them by 2015. This study was intended to see whether Ethiopia is on track to meet the globally adopted goals by the deadline, with particular reference to gender and to analyse the achievements Ethiopia has made so far and the challenges ahead in achieving gender equality. Both descriptive and analytical methods were employed and a triangular approach was used in analysing data. The status of gender gap in Ethiopia was analysed using the Global Gender Gap Index. The study found that though Ethiopia may not be able to achieve the gender related MDG by the deadline; it has made a significant progress in reducing gender disparity over the last decade. Limited enforcement capacity and gender disaggregated data; significant gender gap at secondary and tertiary level of education and political offices; deep rooted gender insensitive social values and political culture remain as challenges. It is argued that addressing these challenges and identifying Gender Practical and Strategic Needs down at community level could be instrumental in narrowing the gap. Besides, strengthening the recently introduced Gender Responsive Budgeting approach, enhancing the pro- poor policy in general and adopting the Gender and Development policy approach in particular, could be instrumental in closing the gender gap in Ethiopia, in the near future.    


Ethiopia; Gender; Gender Policy; Global Gender Disparity Index; Millennium Development Goals.

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