Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Woman's Worth

I found a website for the Ethiopian Women's Alliance based in Cambridge, MA. There was an article written about the role of women in the Ethiopian community. The writer speaks of how even coming to a new country does not really change the role of women and how they are often viewed. Her realization is that it begins with how the woman learns to see herself.


I was born like an Ethiopian women in a male dominated society where the dominance of men and subservience of women in something that is indoctrinated in us from a very early age. I grew up with the knowledge that men are more privileged than women, they are supposed to be. Women exist at the instance of men; all the decision-making power belongs to men, both within the domestic and public spheres. Naturally the men make decision that favors them at the expense of their female counterparts. I learnt early that the art of serving and obeying men is a women’s province and her duty. It is hardly surprising then to find that I am still a ‘domesticated’ individual. My early upbringing was meant to prepare me for an eventuality that my fate, marriage and the limiting life that it entails. ‘It is a woman’s lot’ to endure this kinds of life.

The incident I observed in Lekso Bet was the effective ‘weeding’ out of women from the meeting place, leaving only men to make the decisions about the funeral. I am not saying women are exactly forcibly ejected from their seats. They merely get up of their own volition to provide incoming men with sitting space. After all, a decent, well brought up woman does not sit while a man stands, does she? Being ‘well brought up women’ we did not stop to think about the effect of what we are doing, we merely gave in to years of conditioning and gave up our seats to men. By getting up and giving away our seats, I did not realize the enormity or significance of what we were really giving up. We were giving up not just our seats but our chance to be part of the decision making process that was going to affect us, at least in the funeral! As I talked aloud to myself to the utter dismay of my relative, I wondered in amazement how many other ‘seats’ I had ever yielded without being any the wiser. I wondered how many seats Ethiopian women continue to yield, completely unaware that they were thereby signing off their right to power (as ability to make decisions is power), day by day. I wondered if the men I was watching with new eyes, realized how easily women relinquished their positions thereby empowering them, or they just took everything for granted. I have continued to wonder what will happen when more and more women learn not to relinquish their seats like my friend. Not just at the funeral meetings but in all spheres of life.

Read the entire article.


Anonymous said...

Women in Saudi Arabia and other Arabic countries have no the right to vote, to ride a car, to walk with out a male companion, to gather with male, to attend a class with male, while have the right to merry a man never knew before, to be one of the four wives, not to be allowed to divorce if the man doesn’t give her a divorce and there are many many things they are not allowed to do because of men. The Situation is not better off in other Muslim black Africa nations, too.

When you come to Ethiopia, it is a very different story.

Ethiopia had the most powerful queen this world ever know about 3000 years a go. Her name is Makeda/Negist Saba (Queen sheba).

In the 10th century Ethiopia had another powerful woman leader who was a Jewish. Her name is Yodit.

In the 15/16 century there was another powerful queen Called Nigest Elleni who was successfully defended her country from Islamic invader for 40 years. Her death in 1522 became the beginning of the mass Islamic invasion of the country.

There are many examples Ethiopian women are not the way you are describing/reading here. It is a kind of an Internet propaganda written with fiction/horror thinking.

Ethiopian women are the first African women rewarded with Gold medals in Olympics. Tell me one woman from any Arab nation participating in sport or any activates at world level. Yet no one talks about them.

VALARIE - Single, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

There are definitely examples of strong women who have overcome much in every part of the world.

I did not write this. This was written by an Ethiopian woman, telling her experience of attending an Ethiopian funeral in America.

This is not an insult to women it is giving a perspective from one Ethiopian womans point of few.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]