Eighty percent of Ethiopians live in rural villages, where women perform the majority of the agricultural labor. However, their contributions sometimes go unappreciated, and their dads or husbands frequently impose restrictions on their ability to access resources and engage in community life. The situation is made worse by the fact that one in three women face physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, that 65 percent of women have had female genital mutilation, and that only 50 percent of primary school-enrolled females ever reach the fifth grade.
In all of our initiatives, USAID makes investments to empower women and girls in Ethiopia by fostering equal access to opportunities in the fields of economics, health, and education. By doing this, we contribute to the development of opportunities for women nationwide to participate in society in a more equitable manner. We also talk about the causes of child marriage, female genital mutilation, and violence against women.
Although the percentage of females enrolled in elementary school in Ethiopia increased from 21 to 91 percent over the past three decades, the majority of them are unable to move on to secondary and tertiary education because of distance, issues with personal safety, and financial constraints. As girls get older, participating in academics becomes more challenging since it takes time away from crucial income-generating activities.
Only 35% of undergraduate students at universities are female, and 5% leave out after their first year. Meanwhile, only 11% of university courses are taught by women, a shockingly low percentage. Our Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement initiative seeks to address these issues and enhance support for the ongoing education of the subsequent generation of female Ethiopian leaders. The developed activity is aimed at enhancing elementary school students’ reading abilities. To improve learning performance and boost retention, we offer supplemental reading resources and actively encourage girls to join reading groups.